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Wild Rumpus Sports

Norgren’s Lager 157 Team Starts out Ski Classics Season with Team Tempo Win

The Visma Ski Classics long-distance race series kicked off on Sunday in Pontresina, Switzerland, with a team event where both men’s and women’s times counted together to crown an overall winner. The men raced a team time trial, individual-start with the third man across the line for each team counting for the team’s time. Then, the women started a pursuit-style race based on the time of their men’s team. Team Lager 157 won the men’s team trial and gave Britta Johansson Norgren a lead going into the women’s race, which she never relinquished and gave her team the first win of the new season.

In the men’s team time trial, Lager 157’s squad of Fredrik Byström, Markus Ottosson, Marcus Johansson, Oscar Persson, Jimmi Johnsson, and Anton Karlsson laid down a time of 26:47.5 over the 11 k course. The next best time – just five seconds back – belonged to Team BN Bank’s Morten Eide Pedersen and Simen Østensen, but since they did not have a third team member starting, they did not count in the standings.

Instead, Team Koteng (formerly Team United Bakeries) with Stian Hoelgaard, Tore Bjørseth Berdal, and Torleif Syrstad surprised in second place (+21.7 seconds) and Team Parkettpartner with Vinjar Skogsholm, Thomas Gjestrumbakken, Simen Engebretsen Nordli, Magnus Vesterheim, Kjetil Tyrom, and Anders Kampenhøy took third (+41.2). Left off the podium were some of the pre-race favorites: last year’s overall Ski Classics champions Team Santander, whose Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Øyvind Moen Fjeld, and Oskar Kardin finished eight, +1:05.1.

That set up an exciting race for the women. Johansson Norgren never looked back, eventually crossing the finish line 44.9 seconds clear of second place. For Team Koteng, Astrid Øyre Slind chased hard, but ultimately lost ground; she held on to second place. Team Parkettpartner’s Jogscha Aberhalden was unable to match the performance of the men on her team and slipped to 16th place, +5:17.4. Instead, Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes redeemed Team Santander and skied up through the field to third place, +2:20.0, edging Katerina Smutna of Bauer Ski Team by just half a second with Sara Lindborg of Team Serneke another 0.9 seconds back.

“It was a great day for us,” Johansson Norgren said in a Visma Ski Classics press release. “Our guys did a wonderful job securing me a good lead and I just had to make sure that I paced myself in the beginning. I felt confident and this is a good start for all us. I believe this will be an exciting season, and I’m ready for it!”

Maybe the other team’s can learn something: Team Lager 157 publishes their wax testing report after the competitions. You can see how they decided what to race on in Pontresina here, and the final wax choice here.

The Ski Classics moves to Livigno, Italy, for the La Sgambeda 35 k next weekend.

Results: men’s split timeswomen’s split times