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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

arthritis

Marathon Roundup: Årefjällsloppet, Reistadløpet, Ylläs-Levi, & Ugra

Below is a recap of the last several races of the Ski Classics and Worldloppet Marathon Cup seasons. SKI CLASSICS Årefjällsloppet, March 25 In late March, the 11th race of the Ski Classics series, the 50-kilometer Årefjällsloppet, took place in Sweden’s Åre Mountains. In the men’s race, Morten Eide Pedersen (Team BN Bank) broke away from the pack soon after the start and led the race until the climb after Ottsjö, where the chase group caught him with 20 k to go. Then, with 3 k remaining, Petter Eliassen (Team Leaseplan) attacked and led a breakaway with Oskar Kardin (Team Serene), Anders Aukland (Team Leaseplan), Anders Malmen Høst (Team Leaseplan), and Tord Asle Gjerdalen (Team Santander). Gjerdalen and Aukland raced to a photo finish, which the 45-year-old Auckland won by less than one-tenth of a second in 2:14:16.3 hours. This was Aukland’s first win since the 2015 La Sgambeda, and Gjerdalen was given the same finishing time. Kardin finished…

Watts, Bathe Collect Oosik Wins in Talkeetna

The population of Germany is roughly 82 million. The population of Talkeetna, Alaska, was 876 in the 2010 census. At least three skiers from Germany have won the Oosik Classic, the annual late-season classic marathon that takes skiers on the rivers and hills around beautiful downtown Talkeetna for 50 kilometers, give or take, each spring. No native son or daughter has yet to win Talkeetna’s hometown race … but one Talkeetna native is getting closer. Anchorage skier and former Alaska Pacific University (APU) Masters Coach Dylan Watts collected his third-career Oosik title Saturday afternoon, covering probably slightly less than 50 k in 2:22:40 to pace a field of 65 skiers in the longer race on a perfect spring day. He was followed 1:21 later by current APU Masters Coach Galen Johnston, who moved up from his previous career-best 50 k Oosik finish of fifth to take second overall. Third was…

Cologna, Eide Win Engadin; Gregg Third

The 49th edition of Engadin Skimarathon took place on Sunday, March 12, with the 42-kilometer freestyle race spanning from Maloja to S-chanf, Switzerland. This was the seventh stage of the FIS Worldloppet Cup with sub-zero temperatures. While a large pack skied together for most of the race, Switzerland’s 21-year-old Dajan Danuser (SC Vaettis) tested his luck and broke away early, distancing himself from the chase pack by 15-20 seconds and skiing alone for most of the race. A few kilometers before the finish, Switzerland’s Dario Cologna  and Norway’s Anders Gløersen and Eirik Brandsdal reeled Danuser in and passed him. A group of 20 skiers reached the final stretch together and sprinted to the finish. Cologna outlasted all of them in 1:27:46 for his third Engadin victory, edging Gløersen by six-hundredths of a second and Russia’s Ilia Chernousov by 0.07 seconds. Less than 11 seconds separated the top 20, with the likes of French World Cup skiers Maurice Manificat, Renaud Jay, and Jean-Marc Gaillard finishing fourth through…

Buttin, Dabudyk Win Otepää Tartu Maraton; Lake Placid Loppet Postponed

– 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…

Three Birkie Scenarios: Shortened One-Way Race, Untimed Event or Party

(Press release) HAYWARD, Wis. (February 21, 2017) – With unseasonable weather again today, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) has announced that Birkie Week events previously scheduled for Friday, February 24 have been moved to Saturday, February 25. These events include the Kortelopet and Prince Haakon races. In addition, ABSF officials have determined there are three possible scenarios for Saturday, February 25 events. Scenario #1 – With some snow remaining on the trails from the American Birkebeiner Trailhead to the OO Trailhead (at Highway OO), Birkie staff are monitoring trail conditions. With hopes of measurable snow on Friday, there is a very slim chance that a one-way, timed race could be held (American Birkebeiner, Kortelopet and Prince Haakon races). Scenario #2 – If there is enough snow and conditions are such that 10,000 plus participants can safely ski, however unsafe for a competitive race, there is a possibility of an untimed, open-track, looped-event…

Birkie Announces Schedule Changes, Continues to Work on Contingency Plans

(Press release) Hayward, WI (February 21, 2017) – The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) today announced that after yesterday’s unseasonable rain, Duffy’s Field just outside of Hayward, WI, and the Birkie Trail south of Highway OO are no longer feasible for Slumberland American Birkebeiner, Kortelopet and Prince Haakon Events. Even with snow in the forecast, a downtown or Hayward area finish will not be reinstated. The ABSF team is working on contingency plans for Friday and Saturday events with a focus on the Birkie Trails north of Highway OO. The safety of our participants is first and foremost in our minds, followed by our goal of creating the best possible participant experience for all. Both things are weighed and considered with each and every decision we make. With that in mind, while Thursday’s events, normally held on Hayward’s snow-covered Main Street, may not look the same they are infused with #BirkieFever…

Pedersen, Smutná Victorious at Jizerská Padesatka

The eighth stage of the Ski Classics took place on Sunday, Feb. 19, with the 50-kilometer Jizerská Padesatka in Liberec, Czech Republic. There, Morton Eide Pedersen (Team BN Bank) and Petter Eliassen (Team Leaseplan) prevented Tord Asle Gjerdalen (Team Santander) from claiming his fourth victory of the series after the two broke away on the long uphill about 19 k before the finish and dropped Gjerdalen. Pedersen was able to claim the victory after winning this race back in 2015, finishing Sunday in 1:55:53.1 hours, by just 0.5 seconds ahead of Eliassen (+0.5). Gjerdalen took third, 1:13.6 minutes back, with the help of his teammate Anders Aukland, who helped Gjerdalen after the breakaway. Aukland finished fifth (+1:17.1), behind Ermil Vokuev (Russian Marathon Team) in fourth (+1:13.8). Gjerdalen said that he felt that he had some lactic acid built up in his muscles. “I had a good day today,” Pedersen said, according to a Ski Classics press release. ”I saved some energy in…

Anxiety, Forecast Temps High as Birkie Approaches

By Gavin Kentch With just over a week to go until the first marathon event of the 2017 American Birkebeiner, race officials are measuring ice thickness on Lake Hayward, groomers are taking protective action, and 13,000 skiers around the country are becoming amateur meteorologists. First, the facts. The 29-kilometer Kortelopet race is currently scheduled for next Friday, Feb. 24. The 15 k Prince Haakon is set for that afternoon. The main event, the 44th American Birkebeiner, a 50 k freestyle or 55 k classic point-to-point race from Cable to Hayward, starts at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25. The Birkie trail “is currently in good condition with a 4-8 [inch] solid base,” Nancy Knutson, marketing and communications director at the Birkie, wrote to FasterSkier on Thursday afternoon. (That’s closer to eight inches north of OO, at roughly the midway point of the trail, and closer to four inches at points south, Birkie officials wrote…

Gjerdalen, Smutná Win Dobbiaco-Cortina; Duvillard, Gräfnings Top La Transjurassienne

— The seventh event of the Ski Classics tour took place last Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Gran Fondo Dobbiaco-Cortina in Italy. In the men’s 50-kilometer classic race, Petter Eliassen (Team Leaseplan) returned to racing and set a fast pace from the start. Joining Eliassen in the lead pack were Tord Asle Gjerdalen (Team Santander) and Morten Eide Pedersen (Team BN Bank). After the longest climb on the course, Eliassen and Gjerdalen were able to break away to battle for the victory. The last 10 k of the course were downhill, which led straight into the stadium at Fiames. At the finish line, Gjerdalen was able to outstretch Eliassen by 0.4 seconds to claim his third victory of the 2016/2017 Ski Classics season with a time of 2:04:59.3 hours. Pedersen (+1:43.1) was able to beat out his surging teammate Øystein Pettersen (+1:44.3) for third place on the podium. Gjerdalen continues to hold the yellow bib as the Ski…