Yesterday, the Visma Ski Classics Challengers season opened with Fossavatnsgangan in Ísafjördur, Iceland. Iris Pessey, Skimarathon Team Austria, and Snorri Einarsson, Icelandic world cup athlete, win the 50 km classic distance.
Unlike previous years, participants had to face rough weather conditions. While Fossavatnsgangan is known to be the perfect race to end the winter season with sunny spring weather, the participants this year were challenged by heavy snowfalls and strong winds. The tracks were slow and soft, and all athletes were forced to go with kick wax.
Due to the difficult conditions, the winning times were much slower than usual. The clear favorite, Icelandic Snorri Einarsson, who was born in Norway, but competes for Iceland in the World Cup, reached the finish after 03:06:53 hours, more than 13 minutes before the second-placed Dagur Benediktsson and 15 minutes ahead of third-ranked Albert Jónsson. Visma Ski Classics Pro Team athlete Phillip Bellingham, Skimarathon Team Austria, finished in 5th place.
In the women’s race, Iris Pessey won the race with a time of 04:01:38, 8 minutes before the second woman Mari Jarsk and almost 30 minutes before the third Fanney Rún Stefánsdóttir. Iris Pessey is not an unknown athlete in Visma Ski Classics. She has already started for the same team as Phillip Bellingham, Skimarathon Team Austria, in a few races. Last season, Pessey was not part of the ten athletes in the Visma Ski Classics Pro Team, but she would certainly be a good candidate after her latest victory. Pessey also won the 25 km skating event on Thursday and seemed to be in good shape. In case she enters the Pro Team for season XII, she would already have collected her maximum 50 points from a Challengers event for the Champion competition.
All participants in Fossavatnsgangan receive points for their SC ranking, which they can check by logging in for free to MyPages.
Results of Fossavatnsgangan and a list of all Challengers events with already confirmed dates for the season 2021/22 can be found on vismaskiclassics.com.
Iris Pessey crosses the finish line.