TEAM NTNUI SWECO BRINGS A TOUCH OF UNIVERSITY SPIRIT INTO THE PRO TOUR
By Teemu Virtanen
Team NTNUI Sweco hails from Trondheim, and the Pro Team has been built around a ski club based on students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The Pro Skiers of the team train together with the club members on regular basis, and the following workout schedule is their weekly dose of cross-country skiing pleasure:
- Thursday: 6x5 minutes roller-ski intervals (double poling)
- Saturday: 5x8 minutes “elghufs” (running with poles, trying to simulate classic technique) uphill in Vassfjellet
- Sunday: 4-5h long low intensity roller-ski double poling workout sometimes incorporating intervals during the session
The Visma Ski Classics Pro Team consists of seven eager athletes whose youthful vigor and enthusiasm can be an inspirational force for all of us:
Mari Støen Gussiås
Aleksander de Lange Claussen
Matias Sølvsberg Noren
Ole Sollien Hulbak
According to the team’s manager Ole Sollien Hulbak, the new female athletes are very interesting as they possess the talent and youthfulness needed for great success. Frida Øygard was 19 at La Diagonela and 38 at Birkebeinerrennet last year while Mari Støen Gussiås has been among the top 10 skiers at the Norwegian Championships.
”When our athletes aren’t training, they are studying,” says Sollien Hulbak with a proud tone in his voice. “We have, inter alia, engineering- and medicine-students in the team and we love to think that we have the best brains in Visma Ski Classics! Our team’s color, green, will be seen this winter, and if everything goes south, we always have our education to fall back on.”
They certainly have the brains and intelligence that can take them a step further towards the top of the game. In Season X, the team really wants more than just to be seen, and their manager has listed some key events that they have undertaken this fall. And as you can see, the young team has kept themselves busy.
- AIM Challenge 2019: The biggest multi-sport event in Scandinavia in Hemsedal, Norway. A competition with bike and running shoes, trying to collect as many points as possible in 6 hours. The points were collected both high in the mountains, bogs and waterfalls. Ole Sollien Hulbak and Jakob Meløy from Team NTNUI Sweco won the event with an amazing performance! The event was an excellent workout for the upcoming Visma Ski Classics season.
- The Sweco sprint: a sprint in the middle of the campus in Gløshaugen. The team was one of the organizers together with NTNUI Langrenn promoting Sweco in a fantastic way. Raimo Vigants from Latvia and Hanne Skulbru from Norway won the sprint that truly had an amazing atmosphere created by the décor of the old buildings and students studying therein. Previously, the winners of this event have had such names as Johannes Høsflot Klæbo and Astrid Øyre Slind.
- Last weekend, the team and the club were together training on snow in Bruksvallarna in Sweden. Everybody got a lot of kilometers in perfect skiing conditions. On Saturday, we had a test-race. The results are confidential, but I can say that our guy Matias Noren was the strongest among all skiers. He will definitely be strong this winter!
It certainly seems that this Pro Team has entered the long distance skiing battleground for keeps. They can’t wait for the new season to start, but unfortunately the university world can be quite demanding and time-consuming as is the case with the season opening in Livigno. Some of the team members will have their exam period around the same time and hence need to skip the Prologue races. However, the team manager promises that a few athletes will come over and show us what it really means when you combine brains and power.