The, last FIS marathon Cup 2002/03 race, 35th Engadin Skimarathon took place in perfect conditions. A total of 11 262 competitors started from the lake at Maloja on their 42 km journey to the finish in S'Chanf.
A large group led the field, but after the short climbs to the Olympia Schange at St. Moritz, the group started to break up and Patrick MÃ¤chler of Davos established a 150 metre lead over last year's winner Juan Jesus Gutierrez (ESP), Maurizio Pozzi (ITA) and World 50 km Champion Martin Koukal of the Czech Republic. These four fought out an exciting sprint finish, with MÃ¤chler holding off his better known rivals to win in 1:28.00,9, with Koukal second, Gutierrez third and Pozzi fourth.
This results determined that the FIS Marathon Cup 2003 for men would be won by Norwegian Joergen Aukland, ahead of Czech Stanislav Rezac and Italy's Gianantonio Zanetel, winner of the competition in 2001.
The ladies race was won in 1:32.21,6 by Swiss Olympic bronze medallist Natascia Leonardi Cortesi, ahead of France's Pierrel Annick Vaxealire and Laurence Rochat (SUI). Italian Lara Peyrot finished in ninth place to confirm her position as winner of the FIS Marathon Cup and the most successful female marathon skier of the season. Svetlana Frizen (RUS) and Monica Lazarut (GER) filled the other podium places.
For more info and results, go to <www.worldloppet.com