The Long Distance Ski Championship

Jiserska next in Visma Ski Classics

The two-week break is almost over for Visma Ski Classics pro teams as they head towards the Czech Republic this weekend. Jizerska Padesatká (50 km) is a classic race that has been organized since 1968 and the event is once again a memorial for the Peru Expedition where 15 Czech climbers died in 1970.

The course has been groomed for all participants, and some new snow has fallen on the ground. The temperature should remain below freezing point making the organizers confident that the race will please all participants.

“If the weather is not cloudy, we’re in for a treat,” Richard Valousek, the member of the organizing committee, says optimistically. “Our panoramic views over Jizera Mountains will certainly delight all TV viewers and skiers alike. This race has a great atmosphere, friendly service and a great track in the midst of a typical Czech forest. The course has some challenging climbs where decisive attacks will take place as always. But quite often, we have witnessed some really tight sprint finishes, which may be the case again this year.”

The fight for glory will indeed be severe this Sunday, and there are some local skiers who have set their sights on the podium.

“Kateriná Smutná is naturally one of our own favorites, and she is a popular athlete in this country,” Richard continues proudly. “She was born in this area, and we are all cheering for her. Lucas Bauer has declared that he would like to be in the top 10, which will be tough as his shape isn’t as good as in the past. Then, Stanislav Rezac has shown that he is still very strong, and he knows how to race here. So, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we found him high up in the result list. And we have other great skiers who could do amazingly well this Sunday. Only time will tell!”

In addition to Richard’s predictions, Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team Santander, and Ilya Chernousov, Bauer Ski Team, will continue their cat and mouse game while Andreas Nygaard, Team Santander, and Morten Eide Pedersen, Team BN Bank, will be the most likely names to challenge these two.  However, the former may not even start as his original plan was to skip the race and focus on Vasaloppet.

There are many other potential skiers who can find their way up to the podium; Anton Karlsson, Lager 157 Ski Team, Oskar Kardin, Team Santander and Tore Bjørseth Berdal, Team Koteng are some of them. And there is always room for dark horses as we may see some Koskelas, Thygesens, Hoelgaards and such climbing their way to the top.

In the women’s race, Richard’s favorite Smutná, Bauer Ski Team, will certainly be tough to beat on her home turf, but Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, stands undefeated. But this time around, she needs to prepare herself for the toughest battle of the season.

There are three women right behind these two; Lina Korsgren, Åre Ski Club, Sara Lindborg, Team Serneke, and Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Koteng, who will fight for the last place on the podium. Unless, one of them finds that extra gear and claims the throne this Sunday. Never count out the power of the underdog!

Information about Jizerska 50:
Location: Bedrichov,Czech Republic
Date: February 18th 2018
Start time: Women CET 09.15, Men CET 09.30
Distance: 50 km Classic Technique
Participants: 6 500
Sprint: 23km Jizerka
Climb: 11km Na Kneipe
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