By Teemu Virtanen (the interview by Johan Trygg)
The three-time Vasaloppet winner and the director of Team Eksjöhus Oskar Svärd thinks that tomorrow’s Alliansloppet will be a tight race. He says that the men’s field is extremely competitive, and any unexpected incidents can easily change the final outcome. He also states that windy conditions don’t really allow extensive breakaways.
“We could really see it in yesterday’s 15 km race where some skiers had to ski by themselves and fight the wind alone,” Oskar points out while watching today’s sprint competition in Trollhättan.
Team Eksjöhus has three ladies in the women’s competition, and the team director sounds quite hopeful about their chances.
“In the women’s race, we have Tilde and Hedda Bångman and Linn Sömskar. I hope that Linn can be high up in the results tomorrow as she has the capacity to do well. But anything can happen during the race. No one sees these things when looking at the result list. If everything goes without hiccups tomorrow, she can do well. Tilde is here to offer a helping hand for us, and for Hedda, these races are a good preparation for the winter season.”
In the men’s race, Oskar expects to see his three skiers fighting for top positions.
“For our guys, these races are a great break from intensive summer training. Morten Eide Pedersen did so well at Toppidrettsvekan in Norway last week, third in the long distance race and fourth in the climb competition, and he beat many of the World Cup skiers. He is a strong skier. Ari Luusua is also coming back after his injury, which prevented him from racing at Blinkfestivalen, and Axel Jutterström can be surprising. It can go really well for our guys tomorrow!”
In addition to his team members, Oskar thinks that the podium skiers from yesterday’s 15 km race are also strong favorites to win tomorrow in both classes. He finishes the chat by saying that it’s really great and beneficial to have these types of races in the summer where skiers can get together and face each other before the winter season.