THE COMEBACK- Q&A WITH PETTER ELIASSEN

We have been hearing it through the grapevine for some time, and it is official now. The Legend will put on his armor once again, but will he be strong enough to claim back the title as king and rule the kingdom of Visma Ski Classics?

Petter Eliassen retired teary-eyed after his victory in Ylläs-Levi in 2017, but his lazy days of domestic bliss were numbered when Team BN Bank came knocking on his door. He is ready to rock the house again much to the chagrin, or pleasure, of his dear opponents, the current Champion Tord Asle Gjerdalen included.

As the dust from the news of Petter’s comeback has not even settled yet, it is time to have a quick chat with the returning legend, who says that he really loves the sport because of its relaxed atmosphere, social aspect and beautiful landscapes.

We have come to appreciate Petter’s trademark of “actions speak louder than words”, but this time around he has plenty of words in store for us.

1. What prompted you to return to Visma Ski Classics?
“It was a combination of things; no work from August onwards and an offer from Team BN Bank. They were enthusiastic and wanted me to join. And I know the guys well from before.”

2. What did you miss the most when you were away?
“I missed the excitement of racing, and also the feeling of being good at something.”

3. What have you done in your “retirement”?
“I have worked as a physiotherapist in my community;a hospital and now a rehab center. Besides that, I’ve spent the most of my time with my family, and little bit as a coach in my local Club Tverrelvdalen.”

4. What are you expecting from your comeback?
I expect that it will be tough to compete again. I may not be as strong as I used to be, and right now I’m not at that level yet.”

5.What are your thoughts on Visma Ski Classics now when coming back to the game?
“I think the last season was great, although I didn’t have time to watch every race. Nygaard was amazing. He really took a step up from the previous season.

It’s great that we now have a skating race as well, but Engadin is too flat for me. But it will attract more new skiers to the sport.”

6. How has your summer training proceeded so far?
“My summer has been OK. Roller-skiing is my priority, short workouts, often commuting to work as I don’t have so much time.”

7. There are many interesting races in VSC, but what is your favorite one and why?
I like Reistadløpet because it really has beautiful nature and a tough course. And it’s only a six-hour drive from my home.”

8. Finally, we witnessed an emotional scene in your last race Ylläs-Levi in 2017. How was that experience for you back then?
“I was happy to win there but also sad because I thought it was going to be the last race in my professional career.” 

Written by: Teemu Virtanen
Photo: Magnus Östh