Considered by many Swedish skiers the kickoff for the race season, Craft Ski Marathon brought together several powerful names from Visma Ski Classics as well as recreational skiers eager to race on the first weekend of 2020.
Craft Ski Marathon is a 42km classic race organized in the renowned Grönklitt region and served as a great preparation for Kaiser Maximilian Lauf, Visma Ski Classics next Pro Tour event taking place on January 11 in Seefeld, Austria.
In the women’s race, Britta Johansson Norgren from Lager 157 Ski Team finished first with the time 1:41:10, in second place came Ida Dahl from Team Ramudden and in third place Sofie Elebro from Team Parkettpartner Sjusjøen.
“I got a little sick in Venosta. Since then it has been tough until the New Year and I have not been able to train as much as I wanted,” Johansson Norgren said.
“It felt good today, but I was in a crash at the beginning of the race. But I still think the body responded pretty well despite the tough start. I am very happy that I never became comfortable, I pushed it all the way.”
Second in the women's class was Team Ramuden's Ida Dahl, just over five minutes behind Britta.
“I think I did well today, but I didn't really have the best glide so I had to work so hard on the flat parts on the course,” Ida says.
“The training has been good in recent weeks and I have been in the mountains most of the time and have been training well. Now, I look forward to Kaiser Maximilan Lauf where I will go with kick wax. It will be interesting to see how it goes,” continued Ida who got off to a good start on her first Visma Ski Classics season.
In the men’s race Bob Impola from Team Serneke won with a time of 1:35:09, beating Øyvind Moen Fjeld from Lager 157 Ski Team in second place and Ludwig Tärning from Team Serneke in third place.
“I took all the speed I could into the last curve and then it was just to aim for the finish line. This was a good form message,” Bob said after taking the victory one second ahead of Moen Fjeld.
Øyvind Moen Fjeld pushed hard on the second lap but he couldn’t get away from Bob Impola and his teammates Ludwig Tärning and Jimmie Johnsson.
On the way down into the finish area, Jimmie Johnsson looked strong but he slipped and fell hard. The other three managed to pass him.
“I was sure I was going to crash. I think I skied straight over Jimmie. So I was lucky not to fall. But it was a bit of chaos and then Bob came and was first in the final stretch and I could not beat him,” Moen Fjeld said.
Impola is now looking forward to the continuation of Visma Ski Classics.
“I have been training well during the Christmas holidays up in Harsa. There have been nice conditions there. Now I'm really charged for the next weekend,” said Impola.
Moen Fjeld summarized the race like this:
“I tried to go hard on the slopes. Especially on the first lap. There was no big gap but at least we were only four athletes left and we worked well together. Overall, I am happy with the race but if you want to win a Ski Classics race then you have to step up more.”
Next Visma Ski Classics Challengers events are Östersund Ski Marathon in Sweden on January 18 and Les Belles Combes in France and Dolomitenlauf in Austria, both on January 19. Stay tuned for a weekend full of Challengers action!