– The sixth event of the Worldloppet series, the Tartu Maraton, was originally scheduled to take place this past Sunday, Feb. 26, in Tartu, Estonia. However, due to lack of snow, the marathon was moved 45 kilometers south to Otepää, Estonia. Organizers decided to hold the race on the 5 k World Cup loop at the Otepää stadium and reduced the distance from 55 k to 34 k.
In the men’s race, a group of 12 skiers formed the lead pack, including all of Team Gel Rossignol and the Haute-Savoie Nordic Team. Bastien Buttin (Haute-Savoie) won the sprint at the 4 k mark, and from there, with multiple lead changes, the race came down to 10 men fighting for the victory. Buttin took the win by one second over Benoît Chauvet (Team Gel Rossignol), finishing in 1:29:28 hours. Bastien Poirrier (+2.0) of Team Gel Rossignol finished third. The top 10 finished all within six seconds of first.
Most of the men double poled the entire race, but Toni Livers (Team Gel Rossignol), who finished fourth, was one of the few skiers who decided to use kick wax. Afterward, planned to travel to Lahti to race the 50 k this coming weekend at World Championships. Ivan Perrillat Boiteux (Haute-Savoie) finished fifth and was able to claim the red bib and overall lead by 2 points over Candide Pralong (Team Gel Rossignol) who finished sixth. Buttin is currently third overall in the standings, trailing by 33 points.
“It was very hard today on that lap course,” Buttin said, according to a Worldloppet press release. “I tried to break away several times throughout the race, but I couldn’t. So I had to focus on the final sprint and it worked out. Now I focus on the Engadin Skimarathon, there I will try to win again!”
On the women’s side, Aurelie Dabudyk (Haute-Savoie) redeemed her loss in her home country at La Transjurassienne to take the win in 1:41:21.6. Tatjana Mannima (SAS & TG Hütten Team) was able to keep the pace very high and slowly drop the lead pack until Dabudyk caught her. In the last lap, Dabudyk double poled to victory, beating Mannima by 1:02.3 minutes. Maria Gräfnings (SAS & TG Hütten Team) finished third (+1:39.8). Dabudyk extended her overall lead to 114 points over Gräfnings and Mannima.
“The lap course was very hard for us because we had to overtake many skiers,” Dabudyk said, according to the press release. “But Tatjana (Mannima) made the overtaking and I followed her, so we managed to keep a high pace. Particularly the last lap was quite hard, but I am lucky that I was stronger than Tatjana today.”
There are only two races left in the FIS Worldloppet Cup, the next race being the Engadin Skimaraton 42 k on March 12 in the Engadine valley between Maloja and S-chanf, Switzerland.
– The Lake Placid Loppet, originally scheduled for Feb. 25 in Lake Placid, N.Y., has been postponed until March 18 due to low snow. According to the Lake Placid News, registration has reopened for the 25 and 50 k distances, in both skate and classic. The Loppet was canceled last year due to lack of snow.
— Ian Tovell