By Teemu Virtanen (statistics by Ales Marek)
Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Eiendom, managed to finish second in yesterday’s Birkebeinerrennet, and that result gave him enough points to take the lead in the Visma Ski Classics ranking list. That particular list covers all races done within a 24-month period.
The previous ranking leader Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team Ragde Eiendom, had that position for 26 consecutive races from February 11, 2017 to March 16, 2019. Other notable ranking number ones in the past were Anders Aukland, Team Ragde Eiendom, from January 12, 2014 to January 23, 2016, 17 races, and Petter Eliassen, Team BN Bank, from January 23, 2016 to February 11, 2017, 13 races. In the women’s ranking Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, has been on the top since January 4, 2017, 31 races.
If we look at Nygaard’s development and his rise in the ranking, we can see that he has gradually climbed up. He was 14th after the season that ended in 2016, then the following year he was 6th and when the last season ended in Ylläs-Levi he was already 2nd. He actually took the second place after Toblach-Cortina on February 3, 2018. He is now leading over Gjerdalen by 35 points.
There are two races left in this season; Reistadløpet in Norway and Ylläs-Levi in Finland. Since the ranking list goes back two years, three last races, and the points thereof, from the 2017 season will be subtracted; Årefjällsloppet, Reistadløpet and Ylläs-Levi. Nygaard will lose 312 points while Gjerdalen has to hand over 360 points. This means that Nygaard’s lead will be 163 points on the day of Reistadløpet. Assuming that he is going to race there, he should be able to keep his status as the ranking leader. This season, no one else besides these two skiers has a chance to reach the highest position, but if Petter Eliassen, Team BN Bank, keeps winning races as he has done lately, he might be the new king come the Season X.
Some highlights of Nygaard’s pro skiing career:
1st Vasaloppet China 2017
1st Kaiser Maximilian Lauf 2017
2nd Vasaloppet 2017
2nd Ylläs-Levi 2017
1st Sgambeda 2018 (held Dec 2017)
2nd Toblach-Cortina 2018
1st Vasaloppet 2018
1st Birken 2018
1st Ylläs-Levi 2018
1st La Diagonela 2019
2nd Marcialonga 2019
1st Jizerská 50 2019
2nd Birken 2019