By Teemu Virtanen
The most successful Finnish Pro Team Team Mäenpää is currently at their training camp in Mallorca, Spain. They have put more focus on high altitude training for this season, and the director Kim Mäenpää is counting on their young athletes to break through when the 10th anniversary season kicks off.
The Pro Team have had a training camp every month starting with their session at Idre Fjäll in Sweden in June. In July, they went to Livigno, Italy, and then back to Idre Fjäll where they are also planning to go next month for early snow training.
As Ari Luusua, 3rd at Jizerska 50, transferred to Vltava Fund Team, their number one athlete is Niko Koskela, the winner of Tartu Maraton and a two-time top 10 performer in Visma Ski Classics, who has been training in Finland and will continue to do so until the season starts. According to Kim, he is in great shape and ready to claim more top 10 positions.
Niko’s teammates Viktor and Hans Mäenpää have improved their test results this off-season, and the team director has high hopes for them. Viktor was 15th at Jizerska 50 and 21st at Ylläs-Levi while Hans is the current Guinness World Record Holder of 24 Hour Nordic Skiing. Hannes Mäenpää, 44th at Vasaloppet, is still recovering from a knee surgery, and it is uncertain when he can start racing again. In addition to these more experienced athletes in the Pro Team, Kim thinks that their juniors Ida, 18, and Robin Mäenpää, 17, are their upcoming rising stars, and these youngsters are now in Mallorca building up for the success that awaits them in the future.