Only Anders Aukland of the Norwegian national team is prioritizing the upcoming Swedish Vasaloppet 90-kilometer World Cup race on Sunday. Norway is therefore represented with a very B-type team in the World Cup’s only long-distance race.
Most of the Norwegian male national team skiers are prioritizing the races in the week after Vasaloppet. Frode Estil and Kristen Skjeldal are focusing on the pursuit in Falun and the Holmenkollen 50-k, while Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeseth and Jens Arne Svartedal are gearing up for the classic sprint in Drammen. The sprint team is obviously gearing up for both the skate sprint in Borlaenge and the Drammen sprint.
Four non-national team skiers will therefore be allowed to race on the Norwegian national team quota in Vasaloppet.
The long-distance team is better
National team assistant coach Roger Aa Djupvik admits that the Norwegian team for Vasaloppet isn’t the best — and agrees that the long-distance team on paper looks better.
– We are racing the skiers we can after a long Olympics. This is a race that the long-distance team has prepared for all year. We have no skiers that are training specifically for this type of races. We would have liked to see Jorgen Aukland (Anders Aukland’s brother) in the national team suit for this race, but understand the need for the long-distance team to ski in their sponsor’s suit, says Djupvik.