The 51stEngadin Skimarathon offered a fast-paced race with breakaways and excitement from the beginning to the end. Dario Cologna from Switzerland won the men’s race after a tight sprint finish while his country woman Natalie von Siebenthal managed to get a gap and to win the race. Visma Ski Classics pro athletes performed really well by taking three podium places.
The elite women started five minutes before the elite men and they got caught in St. Moritz when approaching the first sprint point at 15 km. Von Siebentathal was able to follow some male skiers and got a gap over Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Koteng, who furiously chased after the Swiss National Team skier.
Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, followed a little behind these two skiers. At one point, Øyre Slind was only 13 seconds behind von Siebenthal, but the latter was able to speed up in the final kilometers and finished the race 59 seconds before Øyre Slind. Johansson Norgren was third 1.52 minutes behind the winner.
“It was a tough race and the pace was high all the time,” the happy winner von Siebenthal declared at the finish.“I’ve got the gap after St. Moritz and I was able to get some help from fast-going male skiers, but I knew that Astrid was chasing me. I’ve got a bit more energy towards the end, and I was able to push hard and win this race.”
In the men’s race, Visma Ski Classics pro athletes Petter Eliassen, Team BN Bank, and Chris Andre Jespersen, Team Koteng, made sure that the speed was high right from the beginning. The decisive breakaway took place in the only long uphill on the course right after St. Moritz. There were eight skiers in the lead group all the way to the final kilometers where Eliassen could not keep up with the remaining seven skiers. Cologna was able to find the right lane at the finish area and cross the finish line before the others. Jean-Marc Gaillard from France was second and Anders Gløersen, Team Oslo Sportslager – Rustad IL, was the best Visma Ski Classics pro athlete with his third place.
“I didn’t expect the race to be this fast,” Cologna admitted after the race. “Visma Ski Classics skiers wanted to set the pace and we went fast from the beginning. But it suited me well. I was happy to see only seven skiers at the end, but I wasn’t that confident about winning. But I got lucky and had a good sprint at the end. This was the most competitive field I’ve seen in this race due to Visma Ski Classics and the French National Team skiers. I won’t be able to do more Visma Ski Classics races this year, but perhaps next year.”
Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Eiendom, who did not race today, still leads the Hertz Championship competition, but Eliassen is now second 101 points behind. Johansson Norgren managed to score more points over her opponents, and she has a safe lead in the overall competition. She also leads the sprint and climb competitions while there were no changes in the other categories as Anton Karlsson, Lager 157 Ski Team, is still the sprint leader, Morten Eide Pedersen heads the climb competition, Torleif Syrstad, Team Koteng, and Sofie Elebro, Team Ragde Eiendom, are the youth category leaders. Lager 157 Ski Team is only 60 points ahead Team Koteng in the pro team competition. This race was not a Visma Nordic Trophy event, hence those competitions remained untouched with Tore Bjørseth Berdal, Team Koteng, and Johansson Norgren in the leads.