By André Santos
Matteo Tanel, the 2019 roller ski World Champion in Team sprint, made his debut as a long distance skier in season X representing the Italian Pro Team, Team Robinson Trentino.
27 year old Matteo is now aiming to improve his double poling capacity to become better at long distance skiing and fight for higher positions in season XI.
“I was a member of the Italian national team and competed in the Junior World Championships. But then I had some physical difficulties that forced me to stop competing during the winter, so I focused on roller skiing competitions, with great results,” says Tanel.
In 2019 he won the team sprint at the Roller Skiing World Championships in Latvia together with Francesco Becchis. He also achieved a second place in 20 km mass start the same year. Matteo has also won four world cup races on roller skis.
In season X he participated in a few races in Visma Ski Classics.
“Along the way, I realized that long distance was an important training method to develop my double poling capacity, so I began to enjoy it more. Since I have so much fun with this kind of training and racing, I have decided to focus more on long distance races. I definitely want to perform better in the Pro Tour in season XI,” says Tanel.
Though training for the roller ski World Cup and Visma Ski Classics events demands different types of training. While Matteo needs to go fast and short for the first, he needs to have endurance and power in his arms and core for the latter.
“During the summer, I use roller skis for short and intense training sessions. After the summer season, I rest for a week and then start to train in double poling technique, doing some long and easy sessions,” he continues.
Matteo lives in the region of South Tyrol, where the mountains and the forests are closeby. As a child, he used to climb the mountains every day. He still uses his skis to climb mountains during winter as a part of his training.
“Here in Trentino and Alto Adige we are lucky that we can enjoy the mountains throughout the year,” he says.
Matteo is optimistic about the future of Italian Pro Team athletes in Visma Ski Classics. He says that thanks to the work of people like Bruno Debertolis, one of the pioneers of double poling in Italy, there is a growing movement of dedicated young skiers that want to perform well at Visma Ski Classics events.
“Being a member of Team Robinson Trentino is like having a big Italian family. The technical staff are excellent and always available for the athletes. It has been beneficial for me to be able to learn from Bruno Debertolis. I will always be thankful to my team.”