By Teemu Virtanen
As the Visma Ski Classics Season IX is now a thing in the past and everyone is already gazing on the 10th anniversary year, there are many changes taking place with the pro teams and the brand itself.
The Visma Ski Classics Challengers program was introduced last week and there are many other interesting developments taking shape as we speak. The pro teams have mostly finished their season overviews and are now looking forward to another thrilling season. Naturally, a lot of work needs to be done before the new season kicks off, and the summer training season is extremely important for the pro skiers. That is the time when the real skiers are made of.
The Aukland brothers’ squad, Team Radge Eiendom, lost the pro team champion crown after this season, but they are now getting ready to reclaim the title. They have now added the comeback king of the season Petter Eliassen in their ranks. The former Team BN Bank skier could not continue with his precious team as it became defunct after this season leaving two other skiers without a team, Morten Eide Pedersen and Simen Østensen, and one skier, Øystein Pettersen, semi-retired.
Eliassen is certainly cut out for more great success as the level of competition stays high when he joins the new team.
“I’m really happy to be part of Team Radge Eiendom,” Eliassen says enthusiastically. “It’ll be extremely exciting to be in the same team with Andreas Nygaard who won the Hertz Champion and who was my toughest rival this year. It will also be great to have a chance to work with the legend of the sport Anders Aukland. He is in a league of his own with his never-ending persistence and outstanding talent.”
The team manager and former pro athlete Jørgen Aukland is very satisfied with his new recruit and he believes that Eliassen’s presence will improve the whole team.
“Petter has impressed us with his extreme endurance and offensive attitude. He has taken long distance skiing to a new level, and we are delighted to be working with him in the years to come.”
This season’ Hertz Yellow Bib Champion Andreas Nygaard is probably the happiest of the bunch to have his good friend and training partner in the same team.
“It’s great to have him as a crucial part of the gang, but I’m not giving him anything for free. We train a lot together in Alta, and being in the same team gives us a chance to push each other much harder. I can’t wait to see what we can do next year!”
Eliassen won three races this season and he has 13 Visma Ski Classics victories in his career. He is also a two-time Hertz Yellow Bib Champion and finished second this season. He was also second after the 2016/17 season. After that, he took a year off and returned to action for this season.