Unsung hero of the Tour de France: Amund Grøndahl Jansen on ski mountaineering and master of his destiny

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Throughout the Tour de France, VeloNews will be speaking to some of the unsung heroes of the peloton – those riders who fight every day without the recognition that big GC favorites or sprint stars receive.

When Amund Grøndahl Jansen is not on two wheels, he is often found on a pair of skis.

The rider of Team BikeExchange de Nes in Norway is competing in his fourth Tour de France. While he loves hitting the slopes in the off-season, you won’t find Grøndahl Jansen using an elevator or gondola to get him to his destination.

He takes the long way.

“If I’m in Norway, I like to ski. I normally go in the winter and then we go cross-country skiing quite regularly. I love to ski mountaineering, ”said Grøndahl Jansen VeloNews.

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Ski mountaineering is, so to speak, climbing mountains with a pair of skis. It’s a tough activity, but it has the added benefit of a really fast descent – if you like that sort of thing.

“You climb a mountain with your skis. Depending on the difficulty of the mountain, you either get on skis or take them off to do some of the steeper parts until you reach the top, ”explained Grøndahl Jansen. “You have skins under your skis to give you traction going uphill, and you take them off at the top, and put your boots in downhill mode, and then you go down.

“Of course, now with warmer winters every year, you need a good layer of snow to be able to go out in the mountains. At the same time, when there is a lot of snow, you have to be aware of the avalanche risks, and you have to be careful where you are going. But once you have it under control, you can enjoy it. I like ski mountaineering, it is a very pleasant activity to do.

Despite being one with a pair of skis, Grøndahl Jansen was never tempted to follow his former teammate Primož Roglič in ski jumping. With the high speeds and the necessary technical skills, this is hardly something you can learn on a Sunday afternoon.

It also doesn’t provide a lot of exercise for a professional cyclist trying to stay in shape out of season.

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“It’s not training and ski jumping is a technical sport. You can’t really replace cycling with ski jumping in the winter, because you take the elevator and just go down. It’s not a very conditional activity, ”said Grøndahl Jansen.

“It’s also something you have to start very early on. We didn’t have a ski jump where I’m from. It was not an easy sport to pick up and play where I come from. But it is also a big sport in Norway and there are a lot of children who play it.

Get on the bike

Like many in the peloton, Grøndahl Jansen grew up watching the Tour de France on television. However, it wasn’t due to an early passion for cycling, it was just that it was the one thing worth watching at the time.

His love of riding is still young, but it took him a bit longer to develop.

“Before starting to cycle, during the summer holidays, the television was on more or less from the start of the stages. I would play with my siblings or do other stuff during the day, and every once in a while I would stop on the TV and watch how the situation was and watch the finals, which was always a good way to go. spend your days, ”Grøndahl Jansen told VeloNews.

“At that time, I was just watching the Tour de France in the summer because there was nothing else on TV and there wasn’t much to do. Interest in cycling did not come until a little later.

Grøndahl Jansen isn’t quite sure what first drew him to cycle, but his cousin, who raced, and the long summer days in Norway helped him develop his passion. . He could also go alone whenever he wanted.

Read also : Unsung hero of the Tour de France: Jacopo Guarnieri balancing single parenthood and racing

“I had a cousin who rode mountain and road. I have also been mountain biking with my brother and my father quite regularly, ”he said. “I come from a very quiet part of Norway and there is not much to do. Cycling was an easy way to distract yourself when you had free time at school. You play soccer or go cycling, and riding a bike is something you can also do on your own. To play football you need at least a few friends.

Grøndahl Jansen has been a pro since 2017, having signed with Team Jumbo-Visma from the prodigious Team Joker Continental – a team that included Edvald Boasson Hagen and Alexander Kristoff among their alumni. He joined Team BikeExchange this winter.

For Grøndahl Jansen, spending time outdoors and being in control of his own destiny is what he loves most about his daily job.

“I love the freedom that comes with it, you can basically decide for yourself what sounds exactly when you want to train, how you want to train,” he said. “Sure, you have a trainer these days… but when you’re home you can decide if you ever want to go at eight in the morning to practice. And then you can do something with your family.

“We have a lot of time outdoors where you see things that you wouldn’t see in a normal office job, usually a lot of hours on the bike, and we see things in nature. We have great landscapes around the places where we train, and you see both the animals, the mountains. It’s a very quaint office to have.



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