By Johan Trygg
Team Igne is a small Visma Ski Classics team from Northern Sweden that now has the triple Vasaloppet winner Jörgen Brink as Team Manager.
“We have just completed the fourth camp for the team ahead of the upcoming season in town Lycksele. We have previously been to Örnsköldsvik, Sollefteå, and Skellefteå. We still have Mallorca in October and Saxnäs in Northern Sweden in November,” says Brink.
Jörgen Brink ended his long and successful career this spring at the age of 45. Jörgen won Vasaloppet three years in a row: 2010, 2011 and 2012, and has the record time of 3.38.41. Brink also took three bronze medals at the 2003 World Championships in Val di Fiemme: 10+10 km, 50 km, and relay.
Brink had some training collaboration with the athletes in Team Igne at the end of his own career, and this spring it was clear that Jörgen was given the role of Team Manager for the team.
Team Igne had a good end of the season last year with three skiers in the top 30 at Vasaloppet: Niklas Henriksson finished 20th, Klas Nilsson 23rd, and Johan Lövgren 29th.
A keen observant has been able to see Klas Nilsson far ahead in the lead pack on many Visma Ski Classics races in recent years.
Now the athletes in the Pro Team are taking further steps towards the coming season with the support of Brink.
“Our plan is to have a camp per month where we meet and drive each other harder than at home,” says Jörgen.
At the recently completed camp in Lycksele, they had excellent conditions, especially with the new roller-ski track there. The team has also used the Bocksliden, about 10 kilometers outside Lycksele, where there is a nice newly paved road with a good ascent to the top measuring just under 3 kilometers. The slalom slope is a bit shorter but you get good 5-6 minute intervals there.
How high will the team aim this winter?
“The goal is for everyone to develop from their own level, but a top ten place is also a goal,” admits Brink. “We will do this with continuity and patience in the training work. Among other things, we had better and more camps than before and there we can push each other harder than when training at home. An important factor is also that everyone is at every camp because we are so few in the team.”
The training at the camps is focused on some long workouts combined with more intense training.
“Roller skiing is the training form we use the most. This spring, there was a slightly different entrance to the new training season, but now we are on a more even level and everyone has been training really well over the last few months.”
Sofia Lindberg is a new addition to the team and will go for some Visma Ski Classics races for the team, but otherwise, it is the traditional races that are still her primary focus. Sofia surprised at the Swedish championship last winter where she finished 10th in the 10 km classic and 11th in the 15 km mass start classic.
“So far Sofia has impressed the team with her capacity. The step from traditional skiing to long-distance skiing is quite large and double poling training has been limited for her in the past. But now it's a completely different focus”, Brink says.
In other words, it will be very interesting to see what Lindberg can do in the women's field in the races she will partake.
“We look forward to the new Ski Classics season with confidence,” Brink ends.
Team Igne consists of team manager Jörgen Brink and athletes Klas Nilsson (33), Niklas Henriksson (28), Johan Lövgren (28) and Sofia Lindberg (27).