The Long Distance Ski Championship

Team LeasePlan show at Alliansloppet

It is not easy to break away from the rest of the field on the flat course of Alliansloppet, but that wasn’t a problem for Petter Eliassen and Hanna Falk. They both took solo victories in the rollerski race at Trollhättan, Sweden.

Text: Erik Wickström. Photo: Joachim Nywall, www.joachimnywall.se

Most of us thought that it would be a tight finish in Alliansloppet, since the course is relatively flat and rollerski with wheels “number 2” generate high speed. But we were wrong.

Alliansloppet is the biggest rollerski event in the world and it has turned out to be the most prestigious among the Visma Ski Classics Pro Athletes. Since the starting fields also include several World Cup skiers, the level of competition is similar to a Visma Ski Classics event. Alliansloppet is 48 K, consisting of three laps on a 16 K loop with two minor climbs on each lap.

Followed Kjølstad
In the women’s field, many talked about Britta Johansson Norgren prior to the race. Johansson Norgren won the overall title in Visma Ski Classics last winter and she also won the rollerski event Blink Classics recently. But she hadn’t her best day and finished in tenth place, just ahead of another Visma Ski Classics legend, Seraina Boner. 

The girls skied in a fairly big group that got smaller and smaller. After about 40 K the men, who had started 15 minutes later, caught the women. When Johan Kjølstad passed the group, Hanna Falk managed to hang on to him and surged away from the other girls.

Falk got a good gap and before the finish line she had time to high five the spectators. That was a new situation for Hanna Falk, who won Alliansloppet last year as well, after outsprinting Katarina Smutna. Falk also has two World Cup victories in sprint.

Laila Kveli made her comeback in Alliansloppet after giving birth to a child in April, but she did not finish. Annika Löfström did not finish either.

Regarding the standings in World Class Tour, Britta Johansson Norgren is still in the lead with one race to go, which is Olaf Skoglunds Minnesløp in Norway September 4th.

Group of five athletes
On the second lap in the men’s race Anders Mølmen Høst made a short break away together with the junior skier Max Novak. When they were caught by the peleton Petter Eliassen made a counter attack and suddenly there was a group of five athletes ahead of the big group. Except from Eliassen it was Mølmen Høst, Stian Hoelgaard, Torgeir Skare Thygesen and Johan Kjølstad.

Other than Kjølstad (Team United Bakeries) they are all Team LeasePlan skiers, so they kept up a good pace and the group stayed together most of the way to finish.

Half way into the third lap Visma Ski Classics Champion Eliassen did what he likes to wintertime, simply wear his opponents down. He showed why he is still the best long distance skier in the world and he won solo. In total Team LeasePlan had three athletes top four. Eliassen is now the leader of World Classic Tour with one race to go.

In the sprint for positions 5 to 15, Andreas Nygaard was as expected stronger than his competitors.

World Champion Johan Olsson, who skis for Team Santander, did not start due to sickness. Anyone surprised?

Jörgen Brink raced for the first time for his new team Brink Ski Team and finished 13th.

Results Alliansloppet 2016

Women 48 K classic
1) Hanna Falk, SWE, Ulricehamns IF, 2:01:16
2) Maria Nordström, SWE, Ulricehamns IF, 2:01:44
3) Katerina Smutna, Team Santander, 2:01:45
4) Linn Sömskar, SWE, IFK Umeå, 2:01:58
5) Maja Dahlqvist, SWE, Falun-Borlänge SK, 2:02:00
6) Maria Gräfnings, SWE, Falun-Borlänge SK, 2:02:05
7) Astrid Øyre Slind, NOR, Team United Bakeries, 2:02:08
8) Julia Svan, SWE, Team Serneke, 2:02:18
9) Sara Lindborg, SWE, Team Serneke, 2:03:08
10) Britta Johansson Norgren, SWE, Lager 157 Ski Team, 2:03:08 

Men 48 K classic
1) Petter Eliassen, NOR, Team LeasePlan, 1:43:38
2) Johan Kjølstad, NOR, Team United Bakeries, 1:43:56
3) Anders Mølmen Høst, NOR, Team LeasePlan, 1:43:58
4) Torgeir Skare Thygesen, NOR, Team LeasePlan, 1:44:43
5) Andreas Nygaard, NOR, Team Santander, 1:44:52
6) Ilya Chernousov, RUS, 1:44:52
7) Morten Eide Pedersen, NOR, Team BN Bank, 1:44:53
8) Tord Asle Gjerdalen, NOR, Team Santander, 1:44:53
9) Andreas Svensson, SWE, Ulricehamns IF, 1:44:53
10) Kjetil Dammen, NOR, Team LeasePlan, 1:44:53 

All results from Alliansloppet 2016 are to be found here: http://www.alliansloppet.se/loppen/alliansloppet/alliansloppet-resultat-2016/