By Teemu Virtanen
Team Oslo Sportslager - Rustad IL has changed its name to a shorter one and goes by the moniker of Team Rustad Oslo. The pro team finished 15th in the overall pro team competition, and their greatest moment of glory came when Anders Gløersen jumped on the podium, 3rd, in Engadin Skimarathon in Switzerland. The other male skiers were not able to get into the top 30, but managed to score some points during the season. Their female skier Anniken Gjerde Alnes finished among the top 20 skiers several times, Reistadløpet’s 16th place as her best result in the season.
The Oslo based team has three new athletes in their ranks. Marius Harv, 22, used to be a great football talent who now trains for cross-country skiing. The upcoming winter will be his second racing season in Nordic skiing. Last winter, this exceptionally gifted young man finished 42nd in Vasaloppet and 43rd in Birkebeinerrennet, and he is expected to perform even better next year.
The youngest team member is Amund Riege, 18, who has already showed stamina and strength in several mass start and sprint races in the junior category. He is supposedly the fastest skier in the team when it comes to sprints. He certainly has many years to hone his skills and become a new star in long distance skiing.
Finally, Evelina Bångman, 28, has left Team Mäenpää and moved to this Norwegian squad. This Swede won the pink bib twice, and she also participated in a World Cup race once. She already knows what Visma Ski Classics is all about, but she is hungry for greater results now when she is not eligible for the youth competition.
“We have started our dryland training season well with many good sessions at home,” the team director Ståle Fenstad says confidently. “We will have our first camp in two weeks in Karlstad, Sweden. Before the season starts, we will have 10 training camps, and the most important one for us is in Ramsau, Austria, in October. We will also do some Roller-ski races this summer. I think Klarelvsloppet, Visma Ski Classic Challenger race, will be a good test for the team before the snow comes.”
Ståle strongly believes that his team will improve and fight for points when the Season X starts in Livigno later this year.
“We are confident that we will have a strong team and hope to get our best season so far. But it is with some disappointment that we see there is no free technique race in the calendar. For our part, Engadin was a great success. So, we had hoped for some skating races this year as well.”
There are no skating races in the Season X, but there will be a lot of action, excitement and thrills, and Team Rustad Oslo will do their best to make sure that the Engadin Skimarathon podium was not just the luck of the draw.