Silly Season is over!
Silly season has ended and a new season of Visma Ski Classics is coming up! That means new Pro Teams and several transfers among the Pro Teams. Here is a summary of silly season direct from Visma Ski Classic:
September 30th was the last date to register a Pro Team. The (almost) complete list of teams can be seen here: www.vismaskiclassics.com/content/pro-teams
Here is some of the news:
Katerina Smutna has transferred from Team Santander to the new Bauer Ski Team, directed by Pro Athlete Lukas Bauer. Smutna won five consecutive events last season and finished second overall.
Bauer Ski Team stems from Team Pioneer Investments, with stars like Ilya Chernousov and Barbara Jezersek. Last year they were 7th in the team competition, but a good guess is that they will improve that position.
Justyna Kowalczyk has transferred from Team Santander to a new Italian team directed by Pro Athlete Bruno Debertolis: Team Trentino Robinson Trainer. Kowalczyk won two events last year and will be a great recruit for the team.
Team Trentino Robinson Trainer is somewhat a conjunction between last season’s Team Robinson Trainer and Team Xcaliber Lillsport. Except from Heli Heiskanen (FIN) and Justyna Kowalczyk (POL), all athletes on the team are Italian.
Team Santander has – as mentioned above – lost their two female skiers. Instead they put all their eggs in one basket and trust their recruit Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes. On the men’s side, they have lost Snorri Einarsson, Jens Eriksson (to Team Tynell) and Johan Olsson (retired). To fill the gap from those athletes the team director Jørgen Aukland has recruited Oskar Kardin, previously Team Serneke.
Team LeasePlan has retired as a team. All Pro Athletes have found new teams, except from Petter Eliassen who probably will discontinue with professional skiing. Stian Hoelgaard (previously Team LeasePlan) has joined Team United Bakeries. They have also recruited Torleif Syrstad from Team Synnfjell, who was 8th in Marcialonga last season. Masako Ishida and Chris Jespersen is not part of the team anymore. Ishida will focus on the Olympics and Jespersen is hired as a squire for Petter Northug. Rumour says that Team United Bakeries has lost their title sponsor but still keep their name?
Lina Korsgren (previously Team LeasePlan) is on a new Visma Ski Classics team: Åre Längdskidklubb. They have an interesting squad with Korsgren, her boyfriend Gustaf Berglund, Karl Zeitz and Jenny Grip. It will be exciting to see Grip in the tracks again. She won the overall title in 2012 and quit professional skiing after the season of 2013.
Anders Mølmen Høst (previously Team LeasePlan) will be a significant addition to Team Serneke. They need a strong skier on the men’s side since they lost Oskar Kardin to Team Santander.
Team Oslo Sportslager – Rustad IL will have a surprisingly strong team this season, with all Norwegians except from Lasse Hulgaard from Denmark. They have three solid recruits: Kjetil Dammen and Torgeir Skare Thygesen from Team LeasePlan, as well as Anders Gløersen who is a former member of the national team.
Lager 157 Ski Team doesn’t change much in their squad, lead by Visma Ski Classics Champion Britta Johansson Norgren. They only have one addition to the team. Anton Karlsson raced some Visma Ski Classics events for the team last year and proved to be a great sprinter. Now he is an important part of the team and his goal is to win the green sprint bib.
Team BN Bank is a small Norwegian team managed by Øystein “Pølsa” Pettersen. They had a great start as a team last year, despite a miserable day at Vasaloppet. It seems like the main squad consisting of Pølsa, Morten Eide Pedersen and Simen Østensen will continue and reach even higher next season. They have made a noteworthy recruit in the former professional football player John Arne Riise.
Among the new pro teams not previously mentioned we seem to find Team Skigo and Team Norgeshus/Maxpulse from Norway, Team Peltonen and Team Fullfit from Finland. Also, the Norwegian team Lyn Ski Moseteråsen is back in the circuit same as the German team xc-ski.de A│N Skimarathon Team.
To present the Pro team line-up for season VIII, Visma Ski Classics social media channels will post one team per day with expert comment Teemu Virtanens reviews. Starting tomorrow friday october 6th. Stay tuned!
Visma Ski Classics VIII (2017/2018):
Event 1: 26th November, Prologue Pontresina Switzerland 10 km
Event 2: 2nd December, La Sgambeda Livigno Italy 35km
Event 3: 13th January, Kaiser Maximilian Lauf Seefeld Austria 60km
Event 4: 20th January, La Diagonela St Moritz Switzerland 65km
Event 5: 28st January, Marcialonga Trentino Italy 70km
Event 6: 3rd February, Toblach-Cortina Italy 50km
Event 7: 18th February, Jizerska Padesatka Czech Republic 50km
Event 8: 4th March, Vasaloppet Sweden 90km
Event 9: 17th March, Birkebeinerrennet Norway 54km
Event 10: 7th April, Reistadløpet Bardufoss Norway 50km
Event 11: 14th April, Ylläs-Levi Finland 67km