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Wild Rumpus Sports

Perrillat Boiteux, Dabudyk 2018 Worldloppet Cup Champs; Holmes 3rd in Engadin

The all-French men’s overall FIS Worldloppet Cup podium: (from left to right) Gerard Agnellet in second, Ivan Perillat Boiteux in first, and Loic Guigonnet in third. (Photo: Worldloppet)

The final race of the 2018 FIS Worldloppet Cup, the 50th annual Engadin Skimarathon Skimarathon, took place this past Sunday, March 11 in Switzerland’s upper Engadine valley with a point-to-point race from Maloja to S-chanf.

For both the men and women, the fight for the overall Worldloppet Cup title was tight with Ivan Perrillat Boiteux (Haute-Savoie Nordic Team) entering the race 15 points ahead of his teammate Gerard Agnellet, while Aurélie Dabudyk, also of Haute-Savoie, held a 14-point lead over Maria Gräfnings (SAS Pro Team) in the women’s overall standings.

In the men’s 42-kilometer freestyle race, a big pack of about 30 skiers surged toward the finishing lanes together. There had been multiple moves throughout the race, but no one was able to pull away. At the finish line, Switzerland’s Roman Furger was able to win the race for the third time, with a time of 1:34:05.2. France’s Collet Martin finished 1.1 seconds back in second place, ahead of his fellow countrymen Louis Schwartz in third (+1.2), Renaud Jay in fourth (+1.3), Jean Tiberghien in fifth (+1.6), and Thomas Chambellant in sixth (+1.7). Perrillat Boiteux finished 10th (+2.9) while Agnellet followed in 14th (+4.0). Norway’s Petter Northug raced to 19th (+5.1).

At the end of the day, 10th place was enough for Perrillat Boiteux to win his first overall FIS Worldloppet Cup. He finished the season with one victory (La Transjurassienne), two second places and a third place on the circuit, and a grand total of 378 points. Haute-Savoie swept the men’s overall podium with Agnellet in second (353 points) and Loic Guigonnet in third (254 points) after Guigonnet placed 11th in the Engadin (+3.0).

“I am very happy,” Perrillat Boiteux said according to a Wordloppet press release. “This season was so hard with Gerard [Agnellet] as opponent but it was a very good season for me in total. And to be FIS Worldloppet Cup Champion of course is feeling good. It is a good motivation for the French Championships coming up.”

In the women’s 42 k race, Switzerland’s Nadine Fähndrich dominated the day and was able to win the race in a time of 1:38:35.3. Another Swiss skier, Rahel Imoberdorf finished 1:20.7 minutes later in second, while American Chelsea Holmes out of Alaska Pacific University raced to third (+2:52). Holmes edged Gräfnings by 0.2 seconds for the last spot on the podium as Gräfnings finished fourth. (+2:52.2), while Dabudyk placed seventh (+6:06.2). Another American, Erika Flowers of the Stratton Mountain School T2 Team placed 11th (+7:08.1).

The women’s overall FIS Worldloppet Cup podium: (from left to right) Sweden’s Maria Gräfnings in second, France’s Aurelie Dabudyk in first (for an unprecedented third year in a row), and Switzerland’s Rahel Imoberdorf in third. (Photo: Worldloppet)

Ultimately, Dabudyk made history with her third overall Worldloppet Cup title in a row. She won the first three races of the season and reached the podium in every other race that followed (except the Engadin). Dabudyk finished the season with 486 points and won the tie-breaker (for the most race wins) over Gräfnings, who ended the season with 486 points at well. Imoberdorf finished the season in third place with 230 points.

“I am so happy with my third overall victory in a row,” Dabudyk said, according to the press release. “But this year it was very close. Maria [Gräfnings] was so strong over the last races and almost got me, so I am glad to win this third cup in a row this close. Now I have to focus one more time for the French National Championships in 3 weeks.”

Results:  Men | Women

— Ian Tovell