Team Pioneer Investments will introduce two new faces in Saturday's race La Diagonela. The next episode of long-distance VISMA Ski Classics races managed a team in the Swiss St. Moritz, with five athletes, including French skier Alexis Jeannerod and German athlete Monique Siegel. Lukas Bauer will skip this race. "My big goal this season is World Championships in LAHTI and after very disapointed shape in December I´ve decided to skip LaDiagonela because 3 tough races in a row can be a big risk in front of my final preparation prior LAHTI which will start right after Marcialonga next weekend," explains Bauer.
Last week, in fact competed in Seefeld, now in Switzerland and next weekend takes place famous Marcialonga, which already Bauer will again. "Then I leave to prepare to Sweden and I arrive straight to Jizerska 50 (19 February), after which he followed the World Cup," says Bauer.
„Despite the fact that LaDiagonela was shortened to 50km, it will be tough race, where the athletes have to handle also with 1.700m altitude. Very important is a feeding and other support then we will have there 6 people around the track to support our athletes,“ says Bauer.
And what does he expect? From the Russian skier Ilya Chernousov, a fourth man in current VISMA SkiClassics standing a team leader, it is traditional TOP 10. "I was happy with his eighth place in Seefeld, but he did not what means that Ilya want to fight for better result and I´m happy that he is hungry for battle," says Bauer. I´m looking forward to first start this season in VISMA SkiClassics for Alexis Jeannerod. He showed very good results in some WC races and in Tour de Ski, already has a nomination for the World Championships in Lahti. "In our training camps during the summer he was very strong, but now it will be his first start in VISMA SkiClassics this year and it, then I don´t want to stressed him witn any expectation and if he will be in TOP 20 then it will be great."
The third man on his team will be Jan Srail. Although it still is not in 100% shape after an sickness, Bauer still believe in a place in the TOP 30. "And if it were in TOP 20, I will be very, very happy."
The female part of the team will represent the Barbara Jezersek, represent Australia, and the already mentioned German Siegel. "Barbara had problems last week in Seefeld, where she not finished. But it´s sport and sometimes it can´t followed plan. We hoped that Barbara had good week home and now she is ready to fight again. For her, the results in TOP 10 are excellent and everything in TOP 8 is sensational. And Monique? There is important to try it and to see what VISMA SkiClassics races are. I have no any expectation, because Monique have no experiances with this length of races and strategies, but I´m sure that she will fight, "says Bauer.