Season IX is soon upon us and the Climb competition takes place for the second year after the introduction as a new competition season VIII. For sure, we will see an even more determined focus on the climb competition this season, but which skiers will give their all in the uphills? Here is a review of the favorites to win the competition, written by Erik Wickström.
MORTEN EIDE PEDERSEN
Team BN Bank
One of the best moments last winter was the close and unforgettable battle between Morten Eide Pedersen and Tord Asle Gjerdalen in the very last climb checkpoint in Ylläs-Levi. They skied side by side for several hundred meters, at the top of their capacity, ahead of everybody else. Finally, Eide Pedersen reached the top of the mountain just ahead of Gjerdalen and won the climb bib by only five points. He might want to defend it!
Russian Marathon Team
Just like his countryman Chernousov, Vokuev has ups and downs. He is relatively new in Visma Ski Classics and we guess he could perform well in both the sprint competition and in the climb competition. For his best, we hope that he will pick one of them.
Team BN Bank
Last time Petter Eliassen was in the game there was no climb bib. But we all know that he is a great uphill skier, both with and without kickwax. If Eliassen is back in good old shape he can be the man to beat at the climb checkpoints.
Last year Masako Ishida finished second after Johansson Norgren, tied with Justyna Kowalczyk. Ishida has finished top eight in all her 23 Visma Ski Classics races, a remarkable streak. She is a great climber and she won Reistadløpet last season. Due to the Olympics, she only started in four events. We consider Ishida as the big favourite for the climb bib if she will do more races.
BRITTA JOHANSSON NORGREN
Lager 157 Ski Team
The women’s field is growing every year. Now there are a handful of girls that can win races instead of just two. But we still think Johansson Norgren will get lots of climb points since she is a skier with a good offensive.
One of the most interesting names this season is the Swede Maria Gräfnings, new on the Norwegian Team Parkettpartner. Last season she won Tartu Maraton and was on the podium a few more times in international long-distance ski races. Gräfnings has achieved some impressive results in the rollerski events this summer and she enjoys uphills, so watch out!
The lumberjack patterned climb bib is worn by the female and male with the
most current climb points. There are 0, 1 or 2 climb checkpoints in each event.
The ten first men and five first women at the checkpoints will get points.
Lumberjack bib holders are permitted to use a red and black-patterned race
suit and hat.