By Teemu Virtanen
This Sunday will be an exciting day for all long distance ski fans and Visma Ski Classics followers as the “Vasaloppet on roller-skis”, Klarälvsloppet, takes place in Sweden. This 90-kilometer race has a flat and fast course from Hagfors to Karlstad, the hometown of Löfbergs – the famous Swedish coffee brand.
To predict winners is always a fool’s errand as no one knows for sure who has the best day in a race, but it is certainly a fun thing to do. Max Novak from Team Ramudden has been extremely strong throughout the summer season, and he will be hard to beat.
“I have four consecutive victories now, and I want to win the fifth one on Sunday. I had an injury in the spring and couldn’t train for two months, but after that I have trained really hard. It seems to have paid off,” Novak says confidently.
Andreas Nygaard from Team Ragde Charge is in great shape, and he expects to see a sprint finish due to the nature of the track.
“There are not that many 90 km roller-ski races in the world, so I want to do this one as it’s a great workout for the winter. This is very much like Vasaloppet, although there are more climbs there than at Klarälvsloppet. Max has been extremely strong this summer, but I just have to make sure that I stay with him and that I’m fast enough at the end,” Nygaard analyzes his chances in the race.
In the women’s race, it seems quite evident that Lina Korsgren, Team Ramudden, and Hanna Falk, Lager 157 Ski Team, will go head-to-head and fight for the victory.
“I won the race two years ago, and the course suits me well. Hanna has shown that she has adapted well to long distances, and she will be strong on Sunday. Now, I may have to think about the tactics as I didn’t know that we will start after the elite men,” Lina says while driving to the race location.
“This is a great opportunity for me to see how well I can do 90 km. It will be a tough race, but I have trained well, and we have done long workouts at our training camps. I’m confident that I can double-pole fast enough the whole course,” Falk states while getting ready for the race.
In the men’s race, we shouldn’t forget Stian Berg, Team Kaffebryggeriet, since he is the winner of the 2019 edition – Klarälvsloppet was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“I’m ready and this flat course is perfect for me. I expect a sprint finish, and that also suits me well. I just have to stay in the lead group and hope that there are no extensive breakaways,” Berg reveals about his tactics.
There are, of course, other candidates for winning the race such as Johannes Eklöf, Team Ramudden, Stian Hoelgaard, Team Curira, Vetle Thyli, Team Kaffebryggeriet, and interestingly Petter Northug is also participating, although he is not really the one to take home the victory trophy.
Klarälvsloppet will be streamed live with English commentary on www.langrenn.com, www.langd.se, www.kestavyysurheilu.fi, and on www.vismaskiclassics.com. The start time for the men’s race is at 9:00 am CET and 9:05 am CET for the women. You can check out the split times and results on the Visma Ski Classics Live Center: https://www.vismaskiclassics.com/livecenter/klaralvsloppet/