The Long Distance Ski Championship

Two sprint finishes in todays´Toblach-Cortina

In sprint finishes, Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team Santander, managed to win again after missing out at the Marcialonga while Britta Johansson-Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, found an extra gear to beat Kateriná Smutná, Bauer Ski Team.These two winners also sealed victory in the Visma Alp Trophy competition that ended this weekend.

Toblach-Cortina took place in good winter conditions with some fresh snow falling down during the race. The group of elite women started 30 minutes before the men, made their race a tactical battle ground. After the first sprint in the Nordic Arena in Toblach at the 14,5 km point, six skiers broke away from the pack. About four kilometers before reaching Cortina dÁmpezzo, both Johansson Norgren and Smutná increased the pace and approached the finish line together. The latter was again faster and claimed her fifth consecutive victory in the tour. Lina Korsgren, Åre Ski Club, repeated her feat in Marcialonga to finish third.

“It was a slow race in the beginning,” the happy winner Johansson-Norgren admitted. “It makes you a bit nervous when you have that many skiers in the lead group, but Kateriná and I were able to speed up just before the finish. I was surprised that the men caught us up and it happened right before the finish making it a bit scary for all of us. Naturally, you don’t want to disrupt their race, but at the same time you want to go fast and win your own race. I think Kateriná will be really strong in Jizerska50 as it is her home turf.”

In the men’s race, there were occasional breakaway attempts, but nothing serious came from them. Iliya Chernousov, Bauer Ski Team, was quite active along with his fellow countryman Sergey Ustiugov who joined the long distance skiing scene this weekend. Their pursuits of decisive action turned out to be in vain. The Marcialonga winner Chernousov got disqualified for obstruction that caused Stian Hoelgaard, Team Koteng, to lose his ski.

As expected, there was a mass sprint finish in the end where Gjerdalen proved to be the fastest man just before the aforementioned Russian skier whose disqualification bumped up Andreas Nygaard, Team Santander, and Ustiugov to the second and third places respectively.

“We knew it was going to be a slow race with a lot of people in tact,” Gjerdalen said after the race. “I just had to make sure that I avoided any mishaps and accidents, and I just placed myself in a good spot before the sprint. You never know what’s going to happen in a sprint finish like this, as there are so many skiers who could win. I’m happy to be on the top again, and it was a great race with a nice course.”
Teammates Johansson-Norgren and Anton Karlsson took home the winning sprint points, and due to the fact that there was no climb competition today, Johansson Norgren and Morten-Eide Pedersen, Team BN Bank, remain in the lead in that category. Oskar Kardin, Team Santander, and Evelina Bångman, Team Mäenpää, continue wearing the youth bibs. Lager 157 Ski Team is 40 points ahead of Team Santander as the Visma Ski Classics tour takes a two-week break before moving to the Czech Republic for the next race, Jizerska Padesatká, 50 km, on Feb. 18.

Katerina Smutna (CZE) 2nd place, Britta Johansson Norgren (SWE) 1st place, Libna Korsgren (SWE) 3rd place

Andreas Nygaard (NOR) 2nd, Tord Asle Gjerdalen (NOR) 1st, Sergey Ustiugov (RUS) 3rd




To watch the race visit