Lager 157 Ski Team dominated Tartu Maraton this morning with stunning solo victories from Britta Johansson Norgren and Emil Persson.
Tartu Maraton in Estonia, the returning race in the Visma Ski Classics Pro Tour Season XII, took place today with a 63-kilometer long-distance race in classic technique and snowy and challenging conditions.
The women’s race started at 8:50 CET, and an early big front group was formed, but no real action was taken in the first kilometers. With 50km to go, Thea Krokan Murud, Lager 157 Ski Team, and Lina Korsgren, Team Ramudden, tried to break away and got a couple of seconds over the field behind but were soon brought back.
Before the Harimägi Climb checkpoint at the 17km mark, a group of eight women was formed. Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, took the lead and crossed the Climb first, followed by Lina Korsgren, Team Ramudden, 1.2 seconds back, and Thea Krokan Murud, Lager 157 Ski Team, 8.8 seconds behind.
After the Climb, Norgren Johansson kept the high pace and got a gap. With 40km to go, she was 40 seconds in front of the chasing group.
When the men overpassed the women’s field, the group dynamic changed, and Krokan Murud took advantage of the men’s slipstream, closing the gap to Johansson Norgren, with the chasing group, formed by Lina Korsgren, Ida Dahl, Emilie Fleten, and Magni Smedås, more than a minute behind.
In the Palu Sprint point at the 46.4km mark, Johansson Norgren showed her strength and crossed the line first, followed by Krokan Murud, with the chasing group more than 2 minutes and 40 seconds behind with Smedås crossing in the third position.
With about 13km to go, Krokan Murud could not keep the pace and left Johansson Norgren alone in the front. With nearly 10km to go, the gap was over 30 seconds to Krokan Murud and more than 3 minutes over the chasing group.
In the end, Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team won Tartu Maraton in beautiful style with a time of 2:50:44.3. Thea Krokan Murud, Lager 157 Ski Team, finished in second place, 1 minute and 14 seconds behind, followed by Magni Smedås, Team Eksjöhus, in the third spot, 2 minutes and 27 seconds back.
The men’s race started at 9:00 CET, and there was no decisive action besides Team Nordic Expérience controlling the big group of Pro Tour skiers and trying to get a breakaway before the Climb checkpoint.
Heading to the Climb checkpoint, Ermil Vokuev, Russian Winter Team, took the lead and crossed first, followed by Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team XPND Fuel, in second, and Thomas Joly, Team Nordic Expérience, in third.
After the Harimägi Climb, Team Eksjöhus with Morten Eide Pedersen, and Lager 157 Ski Team with Emil Persson, were active in the front and stretching the field with a high pace towards the sprint competition.
With 30km to go, Emil Persson attacked solo and soon got a gap of 15 seconds over the now-diminished chasing group.
Still solo at the Sprint in Palu, Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, crossed the line first. The chasing group crossed 16 seconds behind, with Ermil Vokuev, Russian Winter Team, in second, and Marcus Johansson, Lager 157 Ski Team, in third.
Over the kilometers, Persson’s gap was still growing. With 8.8km to go, he had over 2 minutes of advantage and had put in check the chasing group behind.
In the end, Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, showed superior performance and a great demonstration of power during his solo breakaway to win Tartu Maraton, the ninth stage of Visma Ski Classics Season XII.
Behind, we could watch a beautiful battle for the last places of the podium. Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Charge, controlled the big group and had a powerful sprint to finish in second place, 2 minutes and 52 seconds behind the winner, followed by Max Novak, Team Ramudden, in the third position.
Tartu Maraton results can be found here.
The next event in Season XII is Vasaloppet. The 90-kilometer classic technique race is the tenth race and third Grand Classics stage in Sweden on March 6.