The Long Distance Ski Championship

PRO SKIERS REVEAL THEIR CURRENT SHAPE

Based on two high-level roller-ski races, Olaf Skogslunds Minneløp and Blink Classics – both part of Guide World Classics Tour, we can see that some familiar faces are in “diamond” shape at the moment, but there seems to be room for surprises as well. 

We are now in the tail end of the summer and roller-ski race season is blooming. There are many local races all over Europe, and most pro skiers use this opportunity to test and evaluate their current shape. These races can work as a great platform to determine whether one needs to adjust, tweak or change the direction of his or her dry-land training.

Speaking of male athletes, two names within our Visma Ski Classics ranks pop out right away; Anders Mølmen Høst, Team Serneke, and Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team Ragde Eiendom. The former gave everyone a storm warning when he won the Olaf Skogslund’s memorial and placed third in Blink Classics after the two tough Russian skiers Alexander Bolshunov and Sergey Ardashev. Gjerdalen was third and fourth respectively. 

If Mr. Høst can keep his momentum going, he can truly be a force to be reckoned with when Visma Ski Classics begins in November. It goes without saying that Gjerdalen is always a force, the one that everyone needs to beat, and roller-skiing seems to be his cup of tea as well. Morten Eide Pedersen, Team BN Bank, was second in the first race but fell down on the result list to the 23rdposition in the second one.

It is also worth mentioning that Blink Classics had top World Cup skiers such as the Olympic winner Iivo Niskanen and Martin Johnsrud Sundby in the start field. In the light of this fact, Øystein Pettersen, Team BN Bank, is certainly knocking on the door of greatness as he finished fifth only 8.3 seconds behind the winner. Together with his teammates, Team BN Bank is on its way to glory next winter?

Last year’s Vasaloppet & Birkebeinerrennet winner Andreas Nygaard, on the other hand, had not much to write home about after his performance in Olaf Skogslund’s Minneløp where he crossed the finish line 12.29 minutes behind the fastest skier. Will he be back in shape when the snow covers the ground and skiers leave paved roads for groomed tracks?

Among our women, there are also two names who pique our interest. Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Koteng, and Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes, Team Ragde Eiendom, should not spend sleepless nights over their current shape and form. The former won the first race and the latter the second one. 

The fight between these two were quite tight in Blink Classics where Karin was 33 seconds faster than Astrid while the time difference was almost nine minutes in Olaf Skogslunds Minneløp where Astrid was the fastest performer. It should also be mentioned that Justyna Kowalczyk, Team Trentino Robinson Trainer, was third in Blink Classics but lost by almost six minutes to Astrid. Masako Ishida was found further down the list and about 15 minutes behind her teammate Astrid. The undisputed queen of Visma Ski Classics Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, did not participate in these races.

Complete result lists of both races can be found at:

http://www.blinkfestivalen.no/lists/results-2018/blink-classics-

http://live.eqtiming.com/40518