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Antoine Auger: “Vasaloppet Is The Main Goal For Me”

During Trollhättan Action Week, ProXCskiing spent some training sessions with Team Nordic Expérience athletes. While spending time with the skiers, we chatted with Antoine Auger about training and his goals and passions outside skiing.

Photo: Magnus Östh/Ski Classics

To start with, can you tell us a bit about the summer races? Do you take it only as preparation race, or is it a big goal for you? 

“The races are important to validate the different steps we took during the preparation. I think it’s an excellent thing to be able to come to those races and compete against the best Scandinavian athletes. You directly know how your shape and your technique are. Then when you get home, you know what to work on, where to focus your efforts and how to progress. Then I try to always improve my performance compared to the years before. That could be in terms of place or time. For example, I usually compete at Blinkfestivalen, Alliansloppet, and Klarälvsloppet. My goal is to always be in the top 20. Then we sometimes have problems that we have to deal with: broken poles, broken tips… I dread it because when you break a pole on rollerskis, you spend a lot of energy on it afterward.” 

What about this winter? Is Vasaloppet your main goal? I know that you also greatly appreciate the Nordenskioldsloppet, which will unfortunately not take place this winter. Do you think that would have been a goal otherwise? 

“Maybe I would have come back. I don’t know because it’s a race that takes so much energy that even the overall health takes a hit. So it’s a race I wouldn’t be sure to do every year. But otherwise, Vasaloppet is my main goal because it’s my qualities: the kind of course, the kind of relief that suits me. But other races make me dream, like Marcialonga, La Diagonela, or Pustertaler Ski Marathon. I also like Jizerska, although we will certainly be competing in La Transjurassienne in France at the same time.”

“I like hilly profiles, which require a lot of power, with relaunching, but there are still small moments of recovery, so it is not all at the shape. But despite everything, my main goal will remain Vasa. I know that I have my chances; even in case of a group sprint finish, I know that I can do well.”

Can you share with us your typical pre-race breakfast? 

“Two eggs, one slice of ham, some oatmeal with nuts, vegetal milk, and something to drink: usually either a glass of water or a cup of tea, and I am ready.” 

To talk about training, what’s your favorite summer session? 

“Easy: “Mardi à Mouthe”! So, it’s on Tuesday, 8:00, in Mouthe! With Arnaud Du Pasquier, Thomas Joly and Candide Pralong. Soon “Mardi à Mouthe” will become an official brand (laugh). It’s the best training session: we meet among the best locals, the average speed is high, the session is hard but fun, and we are talking about skiing for four hours, and it’s just so cool!” 

And what about your favorite winter training session? 

“I like to get up around 8 am to be on my skis by 9 am and do a 4-hour session when the weather is good, in good conditions, in the Jura mountains. I like to go with a friend or even alone, and I don’t stop at that. I’m happy as long as it’s a good ride that lasts at least 3 hours.

Fun story about it, I am often the first to arrive at the car park, but last year I arrived once after Roxane Lacroix, and I recognized her car. After 3 hours of skiing, I had planned to stop, but Roxane’s car was still there, so I decided to do another lap because I wanted to be the one who skied the longest. After more than 4 hours of skiing the car still hadn’t moved but I had to go back home. Finally, Roxane told me that she had skied to work in the morning and only got her car back in the evening so that I could have skied for a long time!”

What are you doing when you are not skiing? 

“I love biking, I have a nice bike, and I spend a lot of time maintaining it. Otherwise, I like to do simple things like visit friends and family. I also enjoy listening to music, I’m a fan of electro music, but at the same time, Thomas Joly makes me like rap, so now I also listen to rap. I like to watch series; I am currently watching a French series, “nouvelle école” that I would recommend for French speakers. Internationally I would recommend “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” on Disney+. I am a big fan of Marvel Cinematic Universe, so I enjoyed this one a lot.” 

So, what’s your favorite Marvel movie? 

“That’s a tough question! I am hesitating between two. If it’s on Marvel Phases, I would say Iron Man 1. Otherwise, on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I think it’s Deadpool.” 

To conclude, do you have some advice to give to young athletes? 

“If I had to give one piece of advice, at least one that worked for me, it’s that just because you’re a late bloomer in your junior years doesn’t mean the truth is out. As long as you like to do sport, you have to give it your all and then enjoy yourself. You don’t know why, but your level can increase from one day to the next, and you can do international races at a very good level.”

Maybe you can tell us about it, as you have had a somewhat atypical journey. 

“Yes, it’s true. I was never in any structure or any training group. Some small structures trusted me, and then I was all alone between 18 and 21 years old, a bit in the fog. But as I liked doing sports a lot, I trained a lot, and my level increased. And then when I had the confidence of a team, that’s when I was able to do good places and be really well prepared. But in any case, the advice is that you must never give up if you like what you do.”

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