Original text by Johan Trygg (Längd.se), English text by Teemu Virtanen, Photo by Team Engcon
Didrik Tønseth did not get a place for the Norwegian National Team for the upcoming Olympic season. However, the 30-year-old Norwegian is aiming to qualify for the Norwegian Olympic team, and he does it through the Swedish long-distance squad, Team Engcon.
"The Olympics are my clear goal this winter, but then I will race in the Visma Ski Classics Pro Tour for Team Engcon," Tønseth told Längd.se.
Didrik Tønseth became the World Champion in the 4 x 10 km relay in both in 2015, Falun, and 2017, Lahti. At the 2018 Winter Olympics, he was a part of the winning relay team from Norway. He also has five individual World Cup victories.
Last winter, Tønseth withdrew from racing in January when his body did not respond the way it was supposed to, and after two challenging seasons in a row, he lost his national team place.
Now, however, the great Norwegian is back on track and optimistic after good test results during his training season.
Was it overtraining that put a spanner in the works earlier?
"Yes, there was a little too much exercise, and the body didn't respond in the end. I took a long break and have since built myself up step by step. Tests now show that I have come back as well. The Olympics are my clear goal this winter, but after the World Cup season, I will be racing in Visma Ski Classics for Team Engcon. Reistadløpet should suit me well. The more climbs, the better it is for me,” says Tønseth.
To be eligible for a place at the Olympics, Tønseth must perform at his best in the Norwegian season opener in Beitostölen.
"Yes, it will be important to show top form right away, so I get to go to the World Cup competitions at the beginning of the season.”
Tønseth is very positive about becoming a part of the Swedish long-distance team, Team Engcon, run by Jerry Ahrlin.
"I see it as a good opportunity. It is a good team that invests hard by having good skiers. I also see it as a long-term thing since long-distance races interest me in the coming years even more.”
Jerry Ahrlin is, of course, on fire with the recruitment of Tønseth.
"It feels great to have Didrik in the team. Not only is he one of the best skiers in the world, but he is a very nice and hugely ambitious guy who can be involved in developing the whole team. He has the Olympics as his main goal this winter, but we all know how tough it is to get a place in the Norwegian team. Should he miss the Olympics, he is more flexible to be able to do more races in Visma Ski Classics this winter than just those at the end of the season. His recruitment is also a long-term one. He has many years left to compete.”
Finally, Jerry Ahrlin points out that there may be some more interesting skiers joining the team.