The first Visma Ski Classics Challengers event of the season on skis, Alutaguse Marathon, took place today in Vasavere, Estonia.
The 44 km race was the first Visma Ski Classics Challengers event that was held on snow, after a number of events had to be cancelled.
Even though local restrictions regarding the ongoing pandemic were in place, the organizer was able to provide a fair and exciting competition. Due to strong border controls, mostly Estonian skiers participated in the event.
Team Nordic Jobs Worldwide, the new Estonian Visma Ski Classics Pro Team, was on site with four athletes. The two women of the Pro Team, Piret Pärnik and Merilin Jürisaar, have already participated in two Pro Tour events with Top 40 places during Season XI, Toblach-Cortina and Marcialonga. Mart Kevin Põlluste and Jürgen Kukk will most likely skip tomorrow’s Jizerska 50 in order to participate at today’s Challengers event on home territory after they have so far raced in all Pro Tour events of the season.
With a temperature of -10 degrees Celsius, the race in classic technique started at 10:00 CET. The tracks were in perfect conditions when men and women left together the start area to compete in a tough fight for victory.
In the men’s competition the winner was presented by a Visma Ski Classics Pro Team athlete. Mart Kevin Põlluste, Team Nordic Jobs Worldwide, finished first after roughly two hours, followed by Taavi Kaiv, Suusasemud, on 2nd and Martin Nassar, Viljandi Suusaklubi, on 3rd position. Jürgen Kukk, also Team Nordic Jobs Worldwide, reached a good 10th place with six minutes behind his winning teammate.
The first woman, Tatjana Mannima, Team Craft, finished with a clear victory only 10 minutes behind the first man leaving Anette Kasemets, Võru Suusaklubi, and Visma Ski Classics Pro Team athlete Merilin Jürisaar, Team Nordic Jobs Worldwide, on 2nd and 3rd rank. Piret Pärnik, athlete of the same Pro Team, finished 16 minutes after the first woman on 6th place.
Next event is the Visma Ski Classics Pro Tour event Jizerska50 in Czech Republic which takes place tomorrow, 14th February 2021 with start at 07:50 CET. Timing can be followed in Livecenter and the event is streamed live on Visma Ski Classics Play.
See a full list of all upcoming Visma Ski Classics Pro Tour and Challengers events here.
Top photo: Mart Kevin Põlluste, Team Nordic Jobs Worldwide, cross the finishline. © Adam Illingworth.