By André Santos
Kati Roivas, the Finnish elite athlete from Team Decathlon Experience, had a good start as a long-distance skier in Visma Ski Classics, having finished Vasaloppet at 18th position in 2020. However, tough conditions at La Diagonela made her step back for the rest of the season.
But despite the cold weather that provoked third degree frost bites on her toes and fingers, Kati Roivas, who trained and raced in Alaska for two years, managed to finish the race as the 16th best in the women’s category. However, she went through a slow and long recovering process.
“It took me a long time to get back to training and I couldn’t even walk for a month. I wasn’t able to continue racing, but I could do some training during the spring” says Kati.
She is still not completely recovered and feels some pain in her body where the frostbites were more severe.
“The first months were mentally hard because I couldn’t train and race. But now I am feeling optimistic about the upcoming winter”.
Even though she isn’t completely recovered, Kati has returned to elite training with Team Decathlon Experience hoping that next season she will be able to perform at her best level. Kati Roivas will spend the summer in France where she can train with her team and participate in their training camps.
“We are currently having a training camp where we focus on some base training. I am hoping to resume training and increase the volume of roller-skiing with the focus on my double poling technique” informs Kati.
After the retirement of Roxane Lacroix and Anouk Faivre-Picon, Kati Roivas may be one of the strongest girls of the French team and perhaps the best Finnish athlete in the circuit as she is ready to fight for top positions. So far, Heli Heiskanen from Slavia Pojistovna Sport Team has been the most successful Finn in the women’s category, 10th in the overall competition last season and some top 10 results in the past.
Before being forced to stop the season, Kati Roivas managed to get some promising results, like 18th at Vasalopet and 15th at Toblach-Cortina. “I don’t want to take the pressure, but rather I would like to work hard and achieve the goals that I had set for last season. Hopefully, I will also bring points to my team and help the development of the younger girls.
“Unfortunately, last season I was forced to stop. But now I am looking forward to the next winter and to learn more about long distance ski. I hope that I can start in all Visma Ski Classics races.”