By André Santos
Now that the Visma Ski Classics Pro Tour is on a break, moving from Central Europe to Scandinavia, we talked to Team Robinson Trentino's director Bruno Debertolis about the current season and how his team is preparing for the most important race – Vasaloppet.
Visma Ski Classics is now on a break before the circuit moves to Scandinavia, and the races in Central Europe are done. So far, what are your thoughts about the season?
“At this point of the season, we are already working hard for the next one, making agreements with our supporter companies, sponsors, and so on. But we are also totally focused on the next stages in Scandinavia. For us, this is the most difficult period of the season. These are very expensive weeks, with long travels, flight booking, and moving up and down from those race up there. But at the same time, these are the most exciting trips.”
So far, what was your favorite moment during the season?
“That is easy, very easy to answer. The Marcialonga week! The race!”
How about Team Robinson Trentino? Are you achieving the desired goals?
“Let's say that it has not been a very lucky season so far. We had some falls and some broken poles, especially at the beginning of the season. At La Diagonela, the whole team got up in the morning of the race with severe stomach pains, maybe food poisoning. But we did the race anyway. We also won Marcialonga's sprint with Alexander Panzhinskiy, but the problem I’ve mentioned also affected our results at Marcialonga. Anyway, the best moment is surely the time when the team gets together for the races. There is a fantastic atmosphere within the team, and this is the greatest satisfaction. The best moment so far? When Gilberto Panisi was called up by the Italian National Team for the Falun World Cup weekend!”
What is your team doing during this break? Do you have take part in any races to prepare for Vasaloppet?
“Between Dobbiaco-Cortina and Vasaloppet we decided to skip Jizerska and recharge the batteries by training and by doing some other races in Italy for the Italians, and some races in Russia and Switzerland for Alexander Panzhinskiy and Nicole Donzallaz. Now it seems that things are going much better. Chiara Caminada, Lorenzo Busin, Matteo Tanel and Florian Cappello have recovered their strength very well and have won and taken several podium positions in such races as Marcia Granparadiso and Moonlight Classics, where Justyna Kowalckzyk returned to her winning mode, and our young Caterina Piller and Cerutti have also done really well. We have two important final races before Vasaloppet, Gsieser Tal Lauf and Monte Bondone Skimarathon, where we want to do our best and get ready for the big race in Sweden."
Do you think Visma Ski Classics is engaging more fans in your country as there are now two Pro Teams from Italy and five Italian stages in the Pro Tour?
“I believe that interest in Visma Ski Classics has grown exponentially in recent seasons. Many fans follow the races and keep up to date with what's going on, many ask for advice and above all many young guys are passionate about it. Perhaps more than the World Cup since Italy is not performing that well there at the moment.”
What are you expectations for the rest of the season?
“We do not have great ambitions in races such as Vasaloppet and Birkebeiner. However, we want to make a good impression and do well. But above all we want to build our team, gain more experience, race after race, let the athletes grow and put them in the right conditions to fight for the top positions in the future. We will fight with the experienced athletes such as Nicole, Panzhinskiy and Roberto who, together with the young ones, want to finish the season as the best Italian Team in Visma Ski Classics.”