The Long Distance Ski Championship

Chernousov and Johansson Norgren win Marcialonga

There were amazing sprint finishes in Marcialonga as four men approached the finish line in tandem while two women fought tooth and nail for their respective victory. Marcialonga, the fifth race of Visma Ski Classics Season VIII, took place in great winter conditions with a lot of sunshine and happy smiles.

The men’s race proceeded without any major incidents with about 50 skiers in the lead group past the halfway point. The beginning of the race was a bit slower paced than in previous years, but after Canazei the lead group sped up. There were still more than 20 skiers left when they started their final Cascata climb to the finish.

A group of four skiers broke away right from the beginning of the climb led by Morten Eide Pedersen, Team BN Bank, and followed by the three-time winner Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team Santander, Tore Bjørseth Berdal, Team Koteng, and Ilya Chernousov, Bauer Ski Team. Gjerdalen tried to attack a couple of times, but Pedersen stayed in front. Just before the finish line, Berdal sped up and Chernousov followed right behind him. In the end, the Russian skier was faster and won the race for the first time. He was also the winner of the Climb competition, which was determined by the individual times in the famous Cascata Hill in the end.

“This is a dream come true for me,” the happy winner Chernousov declared. “I’ve done well in the previous races and I knew that I was in great shape. My tactic worked perfectly in the last climb, and I was able to beat Berdal. I hope to do well in the remaining races, but it takes time for me to recover from these races. So, we’ll see how well I can do in Toblach -Cortina next weekend.”

In the women’s race, Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, and Kateriná Smutná, Bauer Ski Team, broke away after Canazei and skied together for the rest of the race. They got some help from passing male skiers, but Lina Korsgren had to ski solo behind them.

Smutná and Johansson Norgren had an extremely tight fight in the last climb and they approached the finish line neck and neck, but the Swede remained the undisputed champion of the season by taking her fourth individual consecutive win. Korsgren managed to be the fastest skier in the final uphill and took home the winning points in the Climb competition.

“It’s always wonderful to win here as this is a special race,” Johansson Norgren said smilingly. “And it’s also nice to have Kateriná back in the fold. Of course, you don’t feel that way when racing out there, but after the race you feel satisfied if you’ve managed to win a real tough race like this one. I’m expecting more tight fights against Kateriná and Lina in the races to come.”

Gjerdalen still has the Hertz champion bib after finishing fourth today, and as Johansson Norgren has won all the races this season, she has a tight hold on her yellow bib. They both also lead the Visma Alp Trophy competition. Johansson Norgren also managed to win the sprint while Anton Karlsson, Lager 157 Ski Team, was the winner in the men’s sprint competition. Youth bibs are now worn by Ermil Vokuev, Russian Marathon Team, and Evelina Bångman, Team Mäenpää, while Lager 157 Ski Team took over from Team Santander at the top of the pro team competition.

The next Visma Ski Classics race is another Italian event and the last one in Visma Alp Trophy. Toblach-Cortina, 50 km, will take place on Saturday 3rd February, with a new course leading all the way to the famous Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Katerina Smutna Bauer Ski Team 2nd place (CZE), Britta Johansson Norgren Lager 157 Ski Team 1st place (SWE), Lina Korsgren Åre Ski Club 3rd place (SWE)

Tore Bjørseth Berdal Team Koteng 2nd place (NOR), Ilya Chernousov Bauer Ski Team 1st (RUS) Morten Eider Pedersen Team BN Bank 3rd (NOR)



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