By Teemu Virtanen
After Saturday’s victory at La Diagonela, Team Koteng’s Astrid Øyre Slind has five Visma Ski Classics race wins under her belt, which also means that she became a new legend this weekend, and her name is now carved in our “hall of fame”. To become a legend in Visma Ski Classics a Pro Team Athlete needs to win five events, and races before the first season of Ski Classics count as well.
Astrid has started this season amazingly well with her two stage wins; La Venosta and La Diagonela. Both of those victories have come after a superior performance from her when she broke away from the others and skied by herself leaving everyone far behind. She has a great chance to get more prestigious victories this winter, and thus her legend status can be strongly solidified.
This soon-to-be-32-year-old Pro Team Athlete has always represented the same Pro Team, which was first called Team United Bakeries and now Team Koteng. She debuted at the World Cup in the season 2008/09 when she finished 22nd in the 10 km classic race in Davos, Switzerland. She has also got gold and silver medals at the Junior World Championships (U23) in 2009 and 2010, and a bronze in the team together with her sister Silje Øyre in the team sprint at the Norwegian National Championships.
But her true claim to fame came when she debuted in Visma Ski Classics in the season of 2015/16, when she managed to be on the podium, 2nd, at Kaiser Maximilian Lauf, and finished 6th in the Hertz Champion competition. Her first long distance ski race was Birkebeinerrennet in 2012 where she finished 8th. Since then, she has completed 36 Visma Ski Classics events including two Challengers events (roller-skiing), and she has 21 podium places altogether.
The following season, she finished finished 3rd in the Champion fight and was on the podium five times. In 2018, she was the 4th best female athlete overall and finished 3rd in the sprint competition. That same year, she got her first victory in Visma Ski Classics when she won Ylläs-Levi. She was also 2nd at Vasaloppet.
Last season, she finished 2nd after Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, in the Hertz Champion competition. She also got victories at Reistadløpet and Ylläs-Levi, and she won the Climb competition and finished 3rd in the sprint competition.
In terms of our Legends, Britta Johansson Norgren has the largest number of victories with 19 wins while Anders Aukland, Team Ragde Eiendom, who returned to action this weekend, has 18. Seraina Boner is right behind Britta and Anders with her 15 wins while Stanislav Řezáč, Slavia Pojistovna Sport Team, has 14 stage victories. Petter Eliassen, Team Ragde Eiendom, has 12 wins, Katerina Smutná, ED System Bauer Team, has 11 and Andreas Nygaard has 9. They all can increase their total number of victories this season.