Text by Teemu Virtanen (Interviews by Johan Trygg & Øyvind Moen Fjeld)
Bruno Debertolis is a passionate man with a great deal of devotion when it comes to long distance skiing. He was a successful Pro Team athlete himself, and after stepping aside from active racing, he decided to form his own team. Team Robinson Trentino has grown over the years, and now with new non-Italian recruits, the Pro Team has truly become an international unit.
Thomas Gifstad, 29, and Patrick Fossum Kristoffersen, 23, are new team members coming from Norway while Frida Erkers, 29, carries the flag of Sweden with pride. Thomas was 39th at Vasaloppet last winter, but his most notable result in that race is his 10th place in 2018. Patrick has proven to be a strong roller-skier with several podiums at the World Cup for roller-skiing. Frida has many good results in various cross-country ski races, and she finished 10th in the 10 km free technique race at the Junior World Championships in 2015.
“I've had a good contact with Bruno over the last few years. They have been looking for new skiers, and suddenly we agreed on my transfer. We were in Italy for four days and met the team for the first time two weeks ago. Their program seems very professional, and the unity of the group is great. They also have their own development team working on young talented skiers," Gifstad says about his new team.
Frida does not have much experience in long distance skiing, but she has done Tjejvasan a couple of times, 7th place as her best result in 2019. This summer, she showed her new team that she was the right choice by winning the 15 km roller-ski race at the World Championships. She is now keen on trying her wings in the Visma Ski Classics circuit.
“When the last season was over, and I started thinking about new goals. I thought more and more about long-distance skiing. That it would be more exciting and motivating for me than doing traditional skiing. To have a chance to see new places interests me. Naturally, I’ve done more double-poling now, but I still believe in varied training, which allows me to do the hard double-poling sessions,” Friday says with an eager tone in her voice.
As many of us remember, Justyna Kowalczyk used to represent Bruno’s team, but she has now retired from racing. In addition to the Scandinavian reinforcements, there is a Swiss skier Nicole Donzallaz and an athlete from Russia, Dimitry Bagrashov, in Team Robinson Trentino.