The youth bib competition is represented by the pink bib and include skiers up to 26 years of age. Wearing the pink bib has become more and more prestigious, not only by individual athletes but also for the Pro Teams, helping out collecting points in the Pro Team competition and showing that the team has recruited new young talents.
Here is a review of the male and female skiers we think will be in the fight for the pink bib season IX. Written by Erik Wickström.
Team Forever Nordic
Last year she was in fourth place, but since Evelina Bångman and Roxane Lacroix are too old for the pink bib it is time for Franziska Müller to climb up on the podium. Last winter, her best result was a 16th place in Toblach-Cortina.
Team Forever Nordic
The German Jessica Wirth was in eighth place in the youth competition last season, with a couple of top 20 finishes. We think it is time for Wirth to reach top ten a few times so that she can get the taste of the pink bib. Wirth participated at Junior World Ski Championships in 2014.
Russian Marathon Team
She doesn’t have a lot of experience of long distance skiing. But we still consider Rebecca Immonen as a top skier in the youth category. She has won junior nationals in Finland and she can surprise many of us.
If we look at top ten in the youth category last season, seven of them are born in 1992. Hence, there is almost a completely new starting field. Torleif Syrstad is a consistent top 20 skier, but we know he wants more than that. His best result is from Marcialonga in 2017, where he was eighth.
He didn’t do a single ski race before he was 20 years old. In 2016, he was totally outside of top 100 in Birkebeinerrennet. Then he started to train like there was no tomorrow. Magnus Vesterheim trains about hundred hours per month during the dry land season and he was successful in Vasaloppet 2018 by finishing in sixth place.
JOAR ANDREAS THELE
Team Ragde Eiendom
Some of you might remember the long breakaway in Vasaloppet with Joar Thele and Jan Srail. Now Thele is back on Aukland’s team to collect points in the youth category. Thele can be on the podium in the youth category, but since he has never been top ten in a single event, we don’t think he can win the bib. Since he was third in Fiemme Rollerski Cup in September, he could also grab some climb points.
The pink youth bib is given to the best female and male athlete of age 26 or below. The age of the athlete is determined by the year the Visma Ski Classics final take place. Points from the champion competition are used. Youth bib holders are permitted to use a pink race suit.