Jorgen Aukland does not feel he is a favorite going into the Vasaloppet and as a result is relieving his brother of his ski partner duties.
Last year Anders Aukland won the Vasaloppet with a good amount of help from his brother, Jorgen. The plan this year was to reverse the role’s of the brothers with Anders helping Jorgen to win. But like his brother this season, Jorgen has also struggled a great deal with sickness which has made him unsure before this weekends race. Due to this uncertainty he has told Anders that he does not have to back him up.
-Anders owes me a favor from last year and if I had asked him to race this weekend he most likely would have, but instead we’ll save it for next year, says Jorgen.
After having trained well this summer and fall, and having started the season on a good note, problems began plaguing Jorgen. A cold before Marcialonga made it so he could not participate in that important event. Another high point of the winter, the Vasaloppet, is also looking like it could be jeopardized by a cold that he has had for the last two weeks.
-I looked at my training in January and February and discovered that I have trained less than I usually would have for the last two weeks.
He therefore decided first last Monday that he would compete in the Vasaloppet.
-I’m trying to sneak myself into a little peak shape by training short sessions to get things online again, says Jorgen who has been training in Norway’s central mountains the last few days.
Today he is actually doing a hard session to test his body. Even with his lighter training load he isn’t pessimistic about the exertion needed to ski between Salen and Mora.
-It is a long race where a lot can happen. It everything goes ok in the first hour then I think things will just get better as time goes on. I know the race and the course and I have the base training for this race already in me, says the Norwegian.
Jorgen does not want to go out and have a break away. He feels it will be a close field until there is about 30km left.
-The Norwegian skiers probably aren’t the favorites, so I’m going to ski as efficiently as possible and not try anything before there is at least 100m left to ski.
Since most of the Norwegian racers are saying they aren’t going to do anything besides just hang with the rest of the field for as long as possible, there is the question of someone trying to make an early break from them.
-This could happen, Raul Olle is someone who will probably want some speed early in the race. But if someone goes, there isn’t any choice but to hang with, I’m going to ski till I crash, says Jorgen.