Birkebeinerrennet, the twelfth stage in Ski Classics, and the fourth and final Grand Classics event, Season XIV, took place today in Norway. With superior performances, Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Charge, and Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Aker Dæhlie, won the 54km long-distance race.
With a sunny day and temperatures around zero, the men started Birkebeinerrennet at 7:45 CET and the women at 8:00 CET. The action started early, and there was a thrilling race among both the men and women.
BIRKEBEINERRENNET – MEN’S RACE
Known for its hilly profile, Birkebeinerrennet on the men’s side started fast from the gun and already a 20km climb to the first checkpoint.
With about 48km to go, a dangerous gap was created with three strong names at the front: Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Charge, Magnus Vesterheim, Team Kaffebryggeriet, and Thomas Ødegaarden, Team XPND Fuel, leaving the main group on alert.
At Skramstad, 8.8km into the race, four skiers passed within 2.5 seconds, with Runar Skaug Mathisen, Lager 157 Ski Team, closing the gap to the leading trio. The main group crossed the checkpoint 17.8 seconds back, with Petter Stakston, Team Aker Dæhlie, leading the chase.
At Raudfjellet, the first Climb checkpoint of the day and an Iconic Climb at the 19.7km mark, five skiers crossed first, with Johan Hoel getting maximum points, followed by Magnus Vesterheim and Andreas Nygaard.
The first chasing group crossed 1:09 back, and Emil Persson’s group was 3:10 behind the leaders.
The second challenging uphill started 28km into the race, culminating at Midtfjellet, the second Climb checkpoint of the day. Johan Hoel crossed first, getting the maximum points, followed by Magnus Vesterheim in second and Andreas Nygaard in third.
With 40km into the race and 14km to go, the leading group of 5 skiers reached Sjusjøen and started their descent to Lillehammer with a 400-meter drop in elevation.
The pace started to pick up in the fast sections after Sjusjøen, and the leading group was still solid and preparing for the final part of the race.
With about 5km to go, Andreas Nygaard was on the offensive, attacking the field and getting a couple of seconds in front of the leading group (now with four skiers, with Ødegaarden chasing behind), but couldn’t get a gap, and the race was to be decided on the final sprint.
Team Ragde Charge took the reins with two athletes in the front at the last kilometer before the finish. In the end, the battle for the win was decided on the straight finish, with Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Charge, winning Birkebeinerrennet in his usual powerful sprint.
Second place, after a tight fight to the line, went to Johan Hoel, Team Ragde Charge, 0.1 seconds back. Runar Skaug Mathisen, Lager 157 Ski Team, was granted the third position on the podium, 0.2 seconds behind the winner.
Birkebeinerrennet – Top 3 Men
- Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Charge, 2:24:58.4
- Johan Hoel, Team Ragde Charge, +0.1
- Runar Skaug Mathisen, Lager 157 Ski Team, +0.2
Birkebeinerrennet results can be found HERE.
BIRKEBEINERRENNET – WOMEN’S RACE
In the women’s race, which started at 8:00 CET, the speed was high from the start, with Ida Dahl, Team Engcon, setting the pace and stretching the field right away.
Soon, a small group of skiers was formed, containing some of the favorites for the day: Ida Dahl, Team Engcon, Emilie Fleten, Team Ramudden, and the Team Aker Dæhlie duo Astrid and Silje Øyre Slind.
At Skramstad, 8.8km into the race, the four skiers passed within 1 second, with Ida Dahl leading the race. The closest chasing group with Anniken Gjerde Alnæs, Team Ragde Charge, Magni Smedås, Team Eksjöhus, and Karolina Hedenström, Lager 157 Ski Team, was 26 seconds back.
With about 40km to go, the leading group worked well together, heading to Raudfjellet with the first chasers 54 seconds behind.
At Raudfjellet, the first Climb checkpoint of the day and an Iconic Climb, 19.7km into the race, Ida Dahl crossed first, getting the maximum points, followed by Astrid Øyre Slind, Silje Øyre Slind, and Emilie Fleten, with the chasing group crossing 1:03 behind.
After the climb and towards the base of the second hill, the leading group worked well together and kept in check the chasers behind. About 2km before Midtfjellet, Ida increased the pace and left her rivals behind. Soon the gap between Astrid grew to 10 seconds and another 8 seconds for Emilie.
At Midtfjellet, the second Climb of the day, 34.3km into the race, Ida Dahl crossed first, followed by Astrid Øyre Slind in second, 19 seconds back, and Emilie Fleten in the third position, almost a minute behind.
From there, Øyre Slind could close the gap, increase the pace, and create a gap over Dahl. With about 5km to go, Astrid increased the gap to 20 seconds to Ida, and that lead proved to be enough for the finish.
In the end, Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Aker Dæhlie, timed her breakaway perfectly to win this year’s Birkebeinerrennet.
Second place went to Ida Dahl, Team Engcon, 59.6 seconds back. Magni Smedås, Team Eksjöhus, completed the podium in the third position, 3:44.3 behind the winner.
Birkebeinerrennet – Top 3 Women
- Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Aker Dæhlie, 2:50:44.5
- Ida Dahl, Team Engcon, +59.6
- Magni Smedås, Team Eksjöhus, +3:44.3
Birkebeinerrennet results can be found HERE.
SKI CLASSICS COMPETITIONS – CURRENT STANDINGS
After Birkebeinerrennet, Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, and Ida Dahl, Team Engcon, lead the Champion bib competition. Ida Dahl, Team Engcon, is carrying the Green bib of the Sprint competition, together with Alfred Buskqvist, Team Ramudden.
Ida Dahl, Team Engcon, and Johan Hoel, Team Ragde Charge, carry the bib for the Climb competition. The Pink bib for the best Youth rests on the shoulders of Karolina Hedenström, Lager 157 Ski Team, and Amund Riege, Team Ramudden.
Next up is Reistadløpet on April 1 and Summit 2 Senja on April 2. The events mark the 13th and 14th Ski Classics stages and the final weekend of Ski Classics Season XIV.
The Season XIV of Ski Classics Pro Tour consists of 14 events on 10 event weekends in 6 different countries.
Ski Classics Pro Tour Season XIV (2022/2023)
- Event 1: December 10, 2022 – Bad Gastein PTT, Bad Gastein, Austria, 15km
- Event 2: December 11, 2022 – Bad Gastein Criterium, Bad Gastein, Austria, 35km
- Event 3: December 17, 2022 – La Venosta Criterium, Val Venosta, Italy, 36km
- Event 4: January 14, 2023 – Pustertaler Ski Marathon, Sexten, Italy, 62km
- Event 5: January 15, 2023 – Prato Piazza Mountain Challenge, Niederdorf, Italy, 32km
- Event 6: January 21, 2023 – Engadin La Diagonela, Engadin Valley, Switzerland, 48km
- Event 7: January 29, 2023 – Marcialonga, Trentino, Italy, 70km
- Event 8: February 12, 2023 – Jizerská50, Bedřichov, Czech Republic, 50km
- Event 9: February 18, 2023 – Grönklitt Criterium, Orsa Grönklitt, Sweden, 50km
- Event 10: February 19, 2023 – Grönklitt ITT, Orsa Grönklitt, Sweden, 12km
- Event 11: March 5, 2023 – Vasaloppet, Sälen-Mora, Sweden, 90km
- Event 12: March 18, 2023 – Birkebeinerrennet, Rena-Lillehammer, Norway, 54km
- Event 13: April 1, 2023 – Reistadløpet, Setermoen-Bardufoss, Norway, 40km
- Event 14: April 2, 2023 – Summit 2 Senja, Bardufoss- Finnsnes, Norway, 67km
More information about the Ski Classics Pro Tour you can find at skiclassics.com.
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Top Photo: Reichert/NordiFocus