By Johan Trygg
Ermil Vokuev, Russian Winter Team, showed strength both in the uphills and the finishing sprint at Toblach-Cortina.
That he would win in a sprint finish, however, he had not expected.
“I thought I was going to be the weakest against these athletes in the final stretch,” says Vokuev.
At the end of Toblach-Cortina Ermil Vokuev pushed hard in the front followed by Oskar Kardin, Team Ragde Eiendom, Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team and Morten Eide Pedersen, Team Nordic Athlete.
Ermil felt strong but didn’t believe he will beat all these in a sprint finish.
“When we were these four athletes, I thought that in this group, I was the weakest in a sprint finish,” says Vokuev.
But he proved himself wrong.
After his 7th place at Engadin La Diagonela and the victory at Toblach-Cortina Vokuev is second in the Champion competition behind Oskar Kardin, Team Ragde Eiendom. Kardin has 370 points and Vokuev 300. Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, is third with 270 points.
Vokuev tops the Climb competition after Toblach-Cortina with 50 points, followed by Petter Eliassen, Team Ragde Eiendom (39 points) and Stian Hoelgaard, Team Koteng (31 points).
How were your thoughts before Toblach-Cortina, Ermil?
“I go out to every race with thoughts of victory, and this race was no exception.”
You pushed hard uphill, and only a few athletes could follow. Was it a planned tactic?
“My goal was to get the Climb bib, so I had to give a high pace in advance, which I did, to take the bib and tear the peloton.”
What are your plans for the rest of Visma Ski Classics season XI? Are you now aiming to win the yellow Champion bib?
“I put a plan for Marcialonga and Jizerska 50. After these races, I will decide which priority to put.”
How will you prepare for Marcialonga during the week?
“As usual, with a lot of rest,” Vokuev ends.
Top picture: Photo: Björn Reichert/Nordic Focus.
Happy smiles in Russian Winter Team after Toblach-Cortina. Photo: Instagram Russian Winter Team.