By Johan Trygg
Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Charge, didn’t have high hopes before the Challengers Totenrullen on Saturday.
Even so, Nygaard had full control of the race in the end.
“It went better than expected, the body responded well. I simply must have had a good shape day,” Nygaard states.
The 50 km Totenrullen was an exciting battle between long distance athletes from Visma Ski Classics Pro Tour and world cup athletes. In the end, it was Andreas Nygaard who controlled the race with the help of his new teammate Johan Hoel against Norwegian national team athlete Martin Løwstrøm Nyenget.
Nygaard let Hoel lead into the final stretch and then outsprinted Nyenget by a margin of 0,3 seconds. Hoel was 3.2 seconds behind in third place.
“It was nice to win with lots of good contenders in a race that was broadcast live on NRK (Norwegian national TV),” says Nygaard.
Hoel did a great job for you at the end of the race!
“Johan is a skier who is good at everything when it comes to endurance. He will be great for us this winter. He is a strong team player,” Nygaard states.
Nygaard just after the finish line with a smile. Photo: Ådne Strandlie.
It was a good day for “Ragde” on Saturday. Oskar Kardin won Grönklitt Double Poling Hill Climb!
“Yes, Kardin is still strong. He’s been in great shape for a long time now.”
Second behind Kardin in Grönklitt was your training buddy Torgeir Sulan Hovland, who is now in the Swedish Pro Team, Team Engcon.
“I have trained a lot with Torgeir and he is a great reinforcement for Engcon. I think he will really be counted on in the Pro Tour in a few years.”
How has the start of the new training season been for you?
“It has worked OK during the spring but I have had some problems with my back. There has been more training on the bike and less running than usual. Since June 1, I think it has worked well.”
Nygaard got off to a dull start to Season XI because of frostbite fingers in the first race, Engadin La Diagonela. However, at the end of the season at Årefjällsloppet 100 km, the 30 year old Norwegian showed that he was back in business when he sprinted to victory.
Are you fully recovered now?
“It’s not 100 percent but it does not affect my training anymore. It took some time to come back and get the body to receive the training. Now, however, it seems that the body responds as it should again.”
Nygaard now has a break from his medical studies until January and he aims, of course, to come as well prepared as possible when season XII starts.
“The goal is to be strong when season XII starts and not have anything to blame on.”
On Saturday, Nygaard flies from northern Norway to the brothers Aukland’s home area of Tönsberg for the Pro Team’s annual summer training camp.
“It has become a tradition. This is the eighth year in a row I’m there for camp now.”
Then it will be some really hard training sessions with your teammates, I guess?
“It usually tends to be a little bit harder than it’s intended. When the plan is a controlled hard workout, it still gets a little tougher. When the plan is an easy pace, it still happens that it goes a “little bit” faster,” says Nygaard.
It’s quite clear to Nygaard that it’s essential to be really well prepared when Season XII begins. New strong athletes are stepping into the Pro Tour, not least his compatriots Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Niklas Dyrhaug in the new Pro Team, Team Koteng Eidissen.
“They are two profiles that will make an impression in Visma Ski Classics. I think we have to be prepared for even higher speed right from the start gun,” Nygaard ends.
Top photo: Ådne Strandlie.