The Long Distance Ski Championship

Vasaloppet, thrilling to the end!

The 94th edition of the world-famous Vasaloppet provided plenty of excitement with unexpected breakaways and lots of offensive skiing, as many skiers showed their strength on the slow-paced tracks. Constant fresh snowfall throughout the morning of the race made for tough conditions with slow tracks, as the skiers had to work hard throughout. After the traditional 90 kilometre trek from Salen to Mora, Andreas Nygaard, Team Santander and Lina Korsgren, Are Ski Club, proved to be the strongest as the first man and woman to cross the finish line in stage eight of Visma Ski Classics. 

In the first uphill after about 3 km into the race, the Bauer Ski Team athlete Jan Srail and Lyn Ski Moseteråsen´s Joar Andreas Thele broke away from the rest of the group. This duo continued their journey working together until 60km into the race, when Srail could not keep up with Thele who continued on alone out in front.
At over 70km into the race, the chasing group finally caught Thele up. The Norwegian’s performance did not get him a podium place, but he did earn the Visma Skier of the day award in recognition of his offensive skiing during the race.
It did not take long until the next strong break away took place. Team Koteng skier Tore Bjørseth Berdal put in an extra gear, getting a gap of close to 50 seconds at one point. It looked like it would be the winning effort, but he was caught with only 4km left to the finish, lacking the energy to stay clear of all the hungry chasers.
A large group of skiers approached the finish line together. Andreas Nygaard placed himself in a perfect position, making it tough for anyone to challenge his excellent sprinting skills. Bob Impola from Team Serneke was the second man over the finish line, closely followed by Team Koteng skier Stian Hoelgaard.
“I am so thankful for this win, it was my main goal this season and now I am full of confidence for the coming events!” Andreas Nygaard said with a big smile in his finish line interview.
On the women´s side, the race turned out to be something unexpected as last years Vasaloppet winner and this seasons´undefeated Hertz yellow bib holder Britta Johansson-Norgren did not take command from start as expected. For a while it seemed to be her strategy to save energy for a sprint finish, but when her opponents pulled away, the Lager 157 Ski Team star did not manage to hang on.
Astrid Øyre Slind from Team Koteng showed that she is back in great strength after her shoulder damage earlier in the season. She used grip wax which in the conditions were an advantage for her, as she admitted in the interviews afterwards. The Norwegian was in the lead until the last 8 kilometers when Katerina Smutna, Bauer Ski Team and Lina Korsgren, Åre Ski Club caught her up by working together to close the gap.
Øyre Slind could not match Korsgren when she put in that extra speed and neither could Smutna, who finished on 3rd place after Øyre Slind who was 2nd over the finish line.
“I cannot believe this, to win Vasaloppet was my goal for this season and I am so happy right now” the winner Lina Korsgren said in the finish interview. 

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Astrid Øyre Slind 2nd place (NOR), Lina Korsgren 1st place (SWE), Katerina Smutna 3rd place (CZE)

Bob Impola 2nd place (SWE), Andreas Nygaard 1st place (NOR), Stian Hoelgaard 3rd place (NOR)

Next event in Visma Ski Classics is Birkebeinerrennet which takes place in Norway the 17th of March. Follow Visma Ski Classics facebook page for latest updates and news!