The Long Distance Ski Championship

The Legendary Marcialonga next in Visma Ski Classics

The year 2018 has been very exciting for Visma Ski Classics as both races in this month have turned out to be very successful in terms of the weather conditions and quality of the events. There have been thrilling fights, suspenseful drama and great sportsmanship, and Marcialonga, 70 km, this coming Sunday should not make any exception.

Marcialonga, the long march, started in 1971 inspired by the famous Vasaloppet, and it has now become one of the most prestigious long distance ski races in the world. Many pro skiers cite it as their favorite race, and the atmosphere in this Italian popular event is certainly second-to-none. It will be the fifth event in the Visma Ski Classics tour this season and the third in the Visma Alp Trophy competition.

“The good news is that we have natural snow on the ground,” the CEO of the race Gloria Trettel says enthusiastically. “But we have still produced the same quantity of artificial snow as before. So, everything is ready and we are putting the final touches on the course and everything else. We have gone through a facelift by re-branding the event with a new logo, updated graphics, improved social media channels, new medals, more merchandise and better communication. I think the magic of Marcialonga comes from our experience, the involvement of the 13 villages and our pure love for the race.”

When predicting winners for this year’s edition of Marcialonga, there are two names that are on everyone’s lips; Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team Santander, and Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team. The latter is truly the King of Marcialonga with his three consecutive victories, and he has two wins back-to-back under his belt this season. He seems to be strong as a bull and thus very hard to beat, but sometimes even those mighty kings may fall.  Johansson Norgren’s performance throughout the season is even more out of this world as she is on a winning streak that has no end in sight.

But there are hungry challengers behind these two, and based upon the two previous races a couple of names pop up. Ilya Chernousov, Bauer Ski Team, performed well in La Diagonela being the second fastest skier, and he was third in Seefeld. Team BN Bank’s Morten Eide Pedersen, who won the title of the “Visma Skier of the Day” last Saturday, showed that he has the capacity and stamina for great results and he may be on the podium this weekend.

The grand-old-man Anders Aukland, Team Santander, seems to keep going like an energizer bunny, and his third place in La Diagonela reminded us of his never fading greatness. However, Marcialonga may not suit him as well because the course is relatively easy except for the long last climb, the Cascada Hill.
This though climb is also a game changer to the Climb competition as it is the only one where the points are given based on the fastest individual times rather than the order of finishers.

There are three strong female skiers who may be able to challenge Johansson Norgren, and they are Bauer Ski Team’s Kateriná Smutná, who found her way back to the podium last weekend, Lina Korsgren, Åre Ski Club and Sara Lindborg, Team Serneke. But to beat the undisputed Queen of the sport they all need to raise their game a notch.

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Marcialonga facts:
Location: Trentino, Italy
Date: January 28th 2018
Distance: 70km
Active years: 45th edition
Start time women: CET 07:50
Start time men: CET 08:00
Sprint: Predazzo, 46km
Climb: Cavalese (Cascata) 70km
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