By Teemu Virtanen
Toblach-Cortina, the sixth event in the Visma Ski Classics pro tour this season, is ready for tomorrow even if it keeps snowing quite heavily. It will certainly be an interesting race for many reasons. It is much shorter than the two previous races, the weather conditions are tricky, there is an early sprint in the race, there is only one long climb and the pro men start before the women. Many factors that the pro teams need to take into account when coming up with tactics and strategies for tomorrow.
The Marcialonga winner Petter Eliassen, Team BN Bank, says that he has not many tricks up his sleeve, just one and everyone knows what that is.
“This is going to be very different from Marcialonga and could suit many fast skiers. I will try the same tactic I had for Marcialonga and push hard from the beginning and see if they can stick around. Let’s see if that tactic works. It’s not that easy here. I’m not completely recovered from Marcialonga and I can still feel it in my body, but I assume it’s the same with everyone else.”
He says that Oskar Kardin and Tore Asle Gjerdalen, Team Radge Eiendom, and the Russian Marathon Team enforcements Sergey Ustiugov and Aleksey Poltoranin are his toughest rivals.
The other Marcialonga winner Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, expects a race that is tactically very different from the ones that took place earlier in this season.
“I’m ready for the race, and the fact that the men start before us is a game changer. They will go first and open the tracks for us and we have to do our own race now. There will be no men for us to get any drafting benefits this time around. My service guys have been testing my skis and I’m pretty confident that the best pair will be selected for these special conditions. I think it will be a fast-paced race even if it may snow throughout the race.”
One of the favorites and Marcialonga’s second fastest skier Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Eiendom, flew back to Norway after the race last weekend as he felt a bit under the weather. He is still sick and he decided to skip Toblach-Cortina and concentrate on the races to come.