The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships were closed last Sunday by the 50km classic race of the men and for several FIS Marathon Cup athletes, who took part in the Championships for their countries, it's now time to get back to long distance racing and the FIS Marathon Cup.
The 42km FT Engadin Skimarathon (SUI) is the last possibility for all racers to gain some precious points for the overall FIS Marathon Cup as the biggest long distance race of Switzerland functions as the final of this season's FIS Marathon Cup.
Last week, the 17km long women's race of the Engadin Skimarathon was successfully held under blue sky and could prove that the track of the Engadin Skimarathon is in perfect conditions. The weather forecast for the next days predicts warmer temperatures, but due to the hard work done by the Engadin Skimarathon team during the months before the race, the race can stay on the original track without any problems. The start of the race is in Maloja, at the one end of the Engadin valley. From there, the track heads towards St. Moritz Bad, over Sils Maria and Silvaplana. From St. Morith Bad, the track continuous to Pontresina and further to Samedan, the start of last week's Frauenlauf. That means that from there, only 17km are left to ski for the athletes.
Passing la Punt and Zuoz, the finish in S-chanf is in view, however, before the racers can enter the stadium they have to climb up the last kilometre – the last challenge before full concentration has to be paid on the finish sprint.
In total, almost 12.000 racers have registered for the Engadin Skimarathon which means an increase of 8% and which shows the rising interest of long distance and popular skiing! Under the many participants is also marathon runner Viktor Röthlin (SUI) who will try his luck in this discipline.
THE RACERS – WHO IS ON THE START LIST
As being the biggest race in Switzerland – even though there have already been two World Cup stages in Switzerland this season with one stage of the Tour de Ski held in Val Müstair and one World Cup held in Davos just before the Championships, the Engadin Skimarathon remains an important race for a lot of Swiss athletes. Therefore one can find last year's winner and national team racer Roman Furger on the start list as Dario Cologna's little brother Gianluca, who has also already several World Cup appearances to his account. Further Swiss athletes are Toni Livers, who is just back from the World Championships in Val di Fiemme, as is Remo Fischer, who will also participate. On the international level, Sergio Bonaldi, the current leader of the overall FIS Marathon Cup will race as will his biggest contestant regarding the overall, Benoit Chauvet from France. Emilien Buisson (FRA), who placed third in this year's la Transjurassienne will be equally present as will Bonaldi's team mates Florian Kostner, Simone Paredi, Fabio Santus and Alan Martinelli – the latter two were already on the podium in the American Birkebeiner at the end of February. Martin Koukal (CZE), Martin Bajcicak (SVK), Aliaksei Ivanou (BLR) and Thomas Freimuth (GER) will also fight for the victory as will the two French National Team racers Robin Duvillard and Ivan Perrillat who are like Ivanou and Bajcicak just back from Val di Fiemme.
On the women's side, Ursina Badilatti (SUI), the winner of this year's Frauenlauf, will do everything to win her home race as she is based in the Engadin. However, last year's winner Anouk Faivre-Picon (FRA), like so many of the racers just back from the World Championships in Val di Fiemme, will do everything, to gain her second consecutive victory. Both have to fight hard as the competition is strong with Seraina Boner (SUI), Stephanie Santer (ITA), Antonella Confortola (ITA), Valentina Shevchenko (UKR), Célia Bourgeois (FRA), the winner of la Transjurassienne this year, Riitta-Liisa Roponen (FIN), and of course Tatiana Mannima (EST) who wants to crown her season with the victory of the overall FIS Marathon Cup and why not with a victory in the Engadin Marathon?!
Winners in 2012:
Men: 1st Roman Furger (SUI), 2nd Curdin Perl (SUI), 3rd Cristian Zorzi (ITA),
Women: 1st Anouk Faivre-Picon (FRA), 2nd Seraina Boner (SUI), 3rd Natascia Leonardi Cortesi (SUI)
NEWS FROM OTHER WORLDLOPPET RACES: PERFECT WEATHER CONDITIONS FOR THE BIEG PIASTOW (POL) AND A NORWEGIAN VICTORY AT THE VASALOPPET (SWE) AND NUMBER SEVEN FOR KARI VARIS (FIN) AT THE FINLANDIA HIIHTO
When a lot of FIS Marathon Cup athletes faught for medals at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme (ITA) – also the home of the famous Marcialonga – several Worldloppet races were held: The Bieg Piastow (POL), the world famous Vasaloppet (SWE) and the Finlandia Hiihto (FIN).
Petr Novak from the Czech Republic could win the Bieg Piastow in a finish sprint in front of his compatriote Jiri Rocarek and the German Benjamin Seifert. For Novak, it was the fourth start and the fourth victory – it seems that he has a very special relation with this race! On the women's side it was the same picture: A Czech was winning in front of a Czech: Zuzana Kocumova became first in front of Adela Boudikova. Marcela Marcisz from Poland placed third. In total, almost 1600 racers started in this year's race.
More information on the Bieg Piastow: http://www.bieg-piastow.pl
In Sweden, Joergen Aukland (NOR) could inscribe his name again in the long list of Vasaloppet winners – for the second time after 2008! Daniel Tynell (SWE) became second in front of Joergen's brother Anders who took the last podium place. Interesting thing: Joergen Aukland was the very first Vasaloppet winner to win the race without grip wax. In his victory interview he said: I’m madly pleased. I’ve got the worst spurt of us all so I tested by pushing on again and again, and then took up speed towards the finish, but they didn’t come after me, so I won! That I could beat Brink and Tynell in a spurt is really something quite special!
More information on the Vasaloppet: www.vasaloppet.se
Kari Varis (FIN) took his seventh victory at Finlandia Ski Marathon when he sprinted to win the 50 kilometer classic race on Saturday in Lahti (FIN). He had to fight until the end as Lasse Paakkonen (FIN) gave him a good match in the final straight. Paakkonen, a well-known sprint skier, had to settle for second place. Alexander Artemyev (RUS) came in third. On the women's side Heli Heiskanen (FIN) could win in front of Satu Siikanen (FIN).
More information: www.finlandiahiihto.fi