The Long Distance Ski Championship



Text by: Teemu Virtanen, Visma Ski Classics expert commentator

One legend, one master skier, one seasoned athlete and five quite unfamiliar faces -- this is the Czech recipe for a tasty meal at the dinner table of Visma Ski Classics . This team is more than just these eight registered long distance skiers as there are about 100 or so eager athletes in their ranks doing local races and fighting in the Czech Ski Tour.

This team will not give victory speeches in Levi when the season is over, but the skiers are eager to show their true colors. Stanislav Řezáč needs no introduction as he is his country's biggest name when it comes to long distance skiing. This 44-year-old master has won Birkebeinerrennet three times, been on the podium six times in Vasaloppet (8 consecutive years in the top 10, 2009-2016), and gained glory in many other long distance events.

Jiří Pliska supported their number one skier quite well with his 31st place in Jizerska50, 29th in Toblach-Cortina and 44th in Vasaloppet while Jan Svoboda, 51, shows no signs of slowing down with his 55th place in Kaiser Maximilian Lauf and 65th in Jizerska50. The rest of the group was not as active as the result list only shows one race for each and a no-show for the 21-year-old Marek Černohorský. But they can turn the tables and make noise starting in November, or at least have fun while trying it.