Source: Official Vasaloppet web site’s press-release
The Czech Stanislav Rezac leads the FIS Marathon cup after four of the eight competitions. He's coming to Vasaloppet on the 6th March.
And, from Italy, so is the world's best cross-country team.
On Sunday Stanislav Rezac, ahead of Oskar SvÃ¤rd and Giantonio Zantel, won the German cross-country classic KÃ¶nig Ludwig Lauf.
This season Rezac has won the Chinese Vasaloppet, Marcialonga and KÃ¶nig Ludwig Lauf.
In Vasaloppet the Czech has several times been involved in battling for victory, and has already gone down in Vasaloppet's history with the most mountain prizes – Rezac has been first past Evertsberg no less than four times!
“It's a great pleasure to confirm that Rezac once more will be taking part in Vasaloppet. I'm certain he'll set his mark on this year's competition as well”, says Rolf Hammar, Vasaloppet's Secretary General.
But it's not only Rezac among the international top skiers entered for this year's Vasaloppet. The 2003 winner, Oskar SvÃ¤rd, from Ulricehamn, is coming, as is the Italian team, headed by the reigning World Cup winner Gianantonio Zanetel. Leading up to the American Bierkebeiner on 26th February, Italy has no less than five skiers among the top ten in the FIS Marathon Cup. Zanetel lies 2nd, Marco Cattaneo 4th, Silvio Fauner 5th, Pierluigi Costantin 7th, and Ivan Margaroli 8th.
“The Italians are going from strength to strength. Earlier they've made their mark as freestyle skiers, but now they are really very strong in classic style as well. Maybe 2005 will produce the first Italian Vasaloppet winner”, speculates Rolf Hammar.
Positions in FIS Marathon Cup after four of eight competitions.
Men: 1) Stanislav Rezac, Czechoslovakia, 265, 2) Gianantonio Zanetel, Italy, 240, 3) Oskar SvÃ¤rd, Sweden, 186, 4) Marco Cattaneo, Italy, 184, 5) Silvio Fauner, Italy, 6) Karl- Gunnar SkjÃ¶nsfjÃ¤ll, Norway, 131, 7) Pierluigi Costantin, Italy, 130, 8) Ivan Margaroli, Italy, 112,
9) Anders Hallingstad, Norway, 10) Rune Torseth, Norway, 84.
Women: 1) Christina Paluselli, Italy, 380, 2) Lara Peyrot, Italy, 240, 3) Sofia Lind, Sweden, 220, 4) Katerina Smutna, Czechoslovakia, 50, 5) Marianne Vlasveld, Holland, 45.
Remaining competitions in FIS Marathon Cup: 26/2 American Birkebeiner 51 km (f), 6/3 Vasaloppet 90 km (c), 13/3 Engadin Skimarathon 42 km (f), 19/3 Birkebeinerrennet 54 km (c).