The fourth event of the Visma Ski Classics tour, Season IX, La Diagonela will happen this Saturday, January 19. The 65 km race starts and finishes in Zuoz, Switzerland, and the course goes through the beautiful Engadin valley reaching the famous town of St. Moritz. The weather conditions are perfect at the moment, and the original full-length course can be used. The start times are 9:20 am CET for the pro women and 9:30 am CET for the pro men and all other participants.
For Visma Ski Classics pro skiers, the course is relatively easy, but there is a demanding 20 km section between Samedan and Pontresina. The climb competition takes place during that section at 20 km while the sprint point is in Samedan at 16 km. The high altitude, the highest point well above 1,800 meters a.s.l., makes the race extremely challenging.
“For pro skiers, the big challenge will be acclimatization to the high altitude,” the chief of competition Ramun Ratti states without hesitation. “I assume that, like in the past years, the race will be decided in the last 10 kilometers or so, in the so called “Golan Höhen” towards S-chanf and then in the last three kilometer uphill.”
During its six-year history, La Diagonela has grown into an established cross-country ski event in the heart of the Swiss Alps. Another Visma Ski Classics event and the legendary Engadin Skimarathon takes place in the same area.
“La Diagonela has evolved and we are ready to serve our participants with unique experience and atmosphere,” Ramun Ratti continues. “Engadin Skimarathon is by far the biggest Nordic skiing event in Switzerland and one of the biggest in the World with over 14 thousand participants while La Diagonela offers a different approach with classic technique and a long course. We have already taken our baby steps, and we now put focus on developing the event into a world-class gathering of sport enthusiasts.”
La Diagonela will offer a thrilling long distance ski race. In the men’s competition, Team BN Bank pro skiers are in top shape, and last weekend’s winner Petter Eliassen is again the biggest favorite as is the whole team. Last year’s winner Tord Asle Gjerdalen showed some promising signs in Kaiser Maximilian Lauf, 5th, after a rough patch, and he can again be counted as a candidate for the podium. Other potential top skiers are Vetle Thyli, Team Kaffebryggeriet, Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Eiendom, Ilya Chernousov, ED System Bauer Team, Andreas Holmberg, Lager 157 Ski Team and the grand-old-man Anders Aukland, Team Ragde Eiendom.
In the women’s race, there will most likely be another neck-and-neck fight between Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, and Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Koteng as Justyna Kowalczyk is not racing this weekend. Two young skiers performed really well in Seefeld, Sofie Elebro (6th), Team Ragde Eiendom, and Elin Molin (8th), Lager 157 Ski Team, and they will fight for the last podium place against the usual suspects Kateriná Smutna, ED System Bauer Team, Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes, Team Ragde Eiendom, and Lina Korsgren, Team Ramudden.
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INFORMATION LA DIAGONELA:
LOCATION: Zuoz, Switzerland
DATE: Saturday January 19th 2019
START TIME: Women CET 09.20, Men CET 09.30
DISTANCE: 65 km Classic Technique
ACTIVE YEARS: 6
RECORD NO. OF PARTICIPANTS: 900
VISMA SKI CLASSICS SPRINT: Samedan – 16 km
VISMA SKI CLASSICS CLIMB: Lej Da Staz – 20 km
SERVICE STATIONS: 8