By Johan Trygg
Season XI means new times for Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team XPND Fuel of Norway. From having been in the Aukland brothers’ Pro team for several years with a large service team, Tord now has to cope with more spartan conditions.
He came to Jizerská 50 with skis waxed at home in Norway and without service on-site in Czechia and managed to finish in second place.
“It was not an ideal situation, but it worked this time,” says Gjerdalen.
Due to the corona restrictions that apply in Norway with quarantine times, Tord hasn’t had the opportunity to have the service team that was the plan before the start of Season XI. He had a waxer with him for the first three races, but for the Jizerská 50, he had to go all by himself with some skis waxed at home in Norway before traveling to Czechia.
“It had to be waxing based on previous experiences. It was not an ideal situation, but it worked this time, says Gjerdalen.
His skis worked fine; it was just that a Swede, Emil Persson, was faster over the final stretch and passed him just before the finish line.
“Yes, Emil is both strong and fast this season,” says Gjerdalen.
In front of Vasaloppet Tord is third in the Champion competition with 690 points, just ten points behind Ermil Vokuev, Russian Winter Team. Emil Persson has the yellow bib with 870 points.
Tord has now set his sights on Vasaloppet. The fact is that his training even before Jizerská was focused on the 90 km race.
“There has been less uphill training and more on focus on going fast on flatter sections and, of course, longer training sessions recently,” says Gjerdalen.
Last year, Tord was fourth at Vasaloppet. Twice he has been in fifth place, and once he finished sixth. Now he hopes for stable winter conditions between Sälen and Mora and not snowfall as it has been several times in recent years.
Tord doesn’t get a service team with him to Vasaloppet either, but he does bring a waxer to Sweden.
“If it is stable and fast conditions, it will be much better for us in smaller Pro teams. Imagine if it could be snow conditions for a course record time. That would be great!” Gjerdalen concludes.
Top photo: Björn Reichert/Nordic Focus.