Double Olympic champion Petter Northug of Norway is shunning ski marathons to increase his chances of cross country gold at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, the International Ski Federation said Tuesday.
Northug, who claimed two golds, silver and bronze at Vancouver 2010, will seek to win the 2012-2013 Tour de Ski, a competition in which he finished second three times.
The 26-year-old, who has seven world championship medals, will also try to grab as much silverware as possible in the 2013 world championships.
But he will not participate in long distance races, including the famous 90 km Vasaloppet marathon and 70 km Marcialonga race.
“Petter is contracted to Team United Bakerie for two seasons,” said Northug’s manager Lars Gilleberg in comments to the federation's website. “He is not going to compete on long distances, this is written in his contract.”
Northug, who has racked up 11 individual FIS Cross-Country World Cup wins, is set to participate in the 38 kilometer Skarverennet race in April.