JAN 07, 2019
Simen Hegstad Krueger isn’t only a talented cross-country skier, he’s also got a lot of talent for drama at big events in cross-country sport. At the Olympics in Pyeongchang the Redster Star had the highly-emotional trilogy – fall in the hectic start – broken pole – win in the skiathlon helped him to become famous worldwide. Now with a grueling performance on the very last climb to Alpe Cermis in the Tour de Ski the Norwegian secured third place on the podium. A longed-for success, nearly as important as his three Olympic medals, as Simen is now back for the future.
Whoever travels to the Olympic Winter Games as a no-name and comes back with two Golds and one Silver medal then nothing in life is as it was. Atomic athlete Simen Hegstad Krueger experienced this vertical take-off story himself. As a sentimental hero from Pyeongchang, who with his Redster setup, he overtook all 67 competitors after his crash in the Olympic skiathlon and won in the end, and in addition to this Gold medal then won another one in the relay and Silver in the skating competition over 15 kilometers. Wow! In the first World Cup winter after his breakthrough in the new role as the crosscountry star Simen’s still got to get used to it. He has raced well, but never at his best.
“And that’s why Simen’s third place at the Tour de Ski is worth even more, this last climb, this race, this overall result is a liberating impulse.”
The outstanding best time on the 3 kilometer climb over the ski slope to Alpe Cermis (Val di Fiemme), where so many great athletes have stumbled, brought 3rd place for Simen on the Tour de Ski with its emotional ups and downs. Simen Hegstad Krueger: “It was always ok in the skating, except for the race in Oberstdorf, but somehow that last kick was missing. Just like the whole season. It's this last 5 percent, which makes the impossible, possible in a race. In the last race I felt this power again, especially on the climb. Everything was there, the power, the skis were performing, I’ll be taking that into the next races with me”.
Toblach (Dobbiaco), Val Müstair, Oberstdorf and Val di Fiemme: the Tour de Ski, with its seven races in nine days for athletes is already a true test of resilience and endurance, however this year took an additional toll with many cases of illness due to complicated travel logistics. Unfortunately some other Redster athletes were also affected: after a good performance in 7th place in the 15 km mass start classic Evgeniy Belov became ill in Oberstdorf, Lotta Udnes Weng (in her first Sprint final in Val Müstair, came in 6th and Linn Soemskar (5th in the Sprint in Toblach) all had to give up during the tour because of flu.
Good news from the Nordic Combined: Atomic athlete Franz-Josef Rehrl has kept his place up near the top, in Otepää (Estonia). After leading in the jumping he came in 5th overall and in the second race of the weekend he followed it up with 7th place.