Karl-Gunnar Skjonsfjell (32), Norway won last weekend’s Jizerska Padesatka FIS marathon in The Czech Republic after a dramatic sprint finish but first had to overcome losing contact with the lead-group twice and fight his way back. The drama wasn’t over with that.
– It was a very tough race, and I couldn’t keep up with the lead group after about 7.5 kilometer. But I was able to double pole my way back into the lead in a flat section. I was dropped again in a long uphill after about 30 kilometer. Jorgen Aukland had dropped back a little earlier and he suddenly came double poling by me up the hill. It looked totally crazy, so I jumped in behind him and we doubled poled our way back to the lead group, says Skjonsfjell.
The last 15-kilometer became a tactical race among the seven-skier big lead group.
-I took the lead with 3-kilometers to go. I felt strong and tried to lead at the beginning of the final stretch. I wasn’t able to do that. I was number four and it was only three tracks. It was pretty dramatic. I had to pass three skiers in the last 250-meters. I was able to do that. Oscar Svard, Sweden protested on the way I had passed him since I changed lanes in front of him and I feared that I would get disqualified. Luckily he pulled the protest after we talked and made a deal, says Skjonsfjell.
It was Skjonsfjell’s first ever FIS Marathon Cup victory.
He is now planning on taking it easy for a few days before he starts preparing for the Marcialonga marathon.
– I will do my best. Now I know that I can win and I have a lot more confidence. But it’s going to be a tough race and not simple, says the 32-year old.