By Johan Trygg
The Swedish Pro Team, Team Curira, has started the preparations for Season XII. Last week, the team had its first training camp in the south of Sweden.
Klas Nilsson, 35, is happy to have new hungry athletes on the team.
"It feels great and I believe in good results for Season XII," says Klas.
Klas Nilsson, fifth at Vasaloppet 2020, is the remaining athlete in Team Curira. Niklas Henriksson has put the skis on the shelf and Johan Lövgren has chosen to continue competing for his club.
Team Curiras recruitment of Norwegian Stian Hoelgaard is, of course, a strong reinforcement. Still, in addition to that, the Pro Team also has several exciting new acquisitions in Gabriel Thorn, Alfred Nilsson, Hanna Lodin and Saga Nilsson. They also have Johan Kask as a new Pro Team manager, Emma Dahlgren as coach, former canoe world champion Martin Hunter as an expert on strength training and Fredrik Öhrner responsible for waxing.
It's kind of a new team with several young athletes. How does it feel?
"It feels great and I think it can be really good in terms of results as well, says Klas.
How are your thoughts for the coming season? Will it be your last season on the Pro Tour?
"No, I do not think so; as long as I feel that I am developing, I will continue. I want to try to get a little more out of what I have in me; I didn't manage to do that last winter," says Klas.
The best result in the Pro Tour last winter was his twelfth place at Jizerska 50.
Ahead of last season, Klas trained with well-known biathlon coach Wolfgang Pichler as a coach. Now it will not be pure Pichler training for Klas.
"It will plan my own this year. Wolfgang has a lot to do with the Swedish Olympic committee, so I will do a mix of what I did in previous years and Wolfgang's ideas," Klas explains.
"I think it can be good and with the support from the team that we will get next season. We sometimes missed a bit last winter, some unnecessary mistakes about materials, among other things. Now it feels like we have secured it better."
Last weekend Klas and the rest of Team Curira attended the 57 km long roller ski Challengers race Båstad-Mölle. His new teammate Stian Hoelgaard won the race, but Klas had to work hard and finished seventh, ten minutes behind Hoelgaard.
What was it like to compete again?
"Well, I may not be in the best shape. It was probably only my third or fourth double poling session since the Nordenskiöldsloppet (which Klas won). I have had a little pain in one elbow, so it has been quite a lot of skating training in the spring. Luckily the elbow feels better now."
Gabriel Thorn, Stian Hoelgaard, Hanna Lodin, Klas Nilsson, Alfred Nilsson and coach Emma Dahlgren.