Two strive for the victory…. and a third runs away with it. Everyone expected a duel between the Aukland brothers, Joergen and Anders from Norway and Italian Marco Cattaneo, but in the end it was Swede Jerry Ahrlin who climbed the first step of the podium in the 36th Marcialonga di Fiemme e Fassa.
It was he who raised his arms in victory at the finishing line in Viale Mendini in Cavalese, at the end of the 70 km-competition, and lived the decisive moments along the “Cascata” ascent again. Along the steep ascent he was able to make the difference, just like two years ago, and to leave his adversaries behind – Joergen Aukland (who finished second) and Daniel Tynell, also from Sweden, who finished in third place. This is Ahrlin’s second success in the queen of Italian cross-country skiing marathons and he thus equals Anders and Joergen Aukland, who won twice each (Anders in 2004 and 2008, Joergen in 2003 and 2006).
Italian Marco Cattaneo finished in fourth place: he was close to the three skiers in the lead at the beginning of the last ascent but was not able to keep pace with them, and had to surrender to the Scandinavian strength. Anders Aukland, finished 13th, just under 4 minutes off the pace. Aukland competed in a 15 km World Cup race on Saturday, then traveled from Otepaeae (Estonia) to Val di Fiemme, arrived at the hotel at 1:00 a.m. and 7 hours later took part in the 70-km ski marathon. Last year’s winner can walk tall for “heroic” performance.
And heroic too was 44-year old Norwegian Hilde Pedersen (2007 winner), who had to compete with the much younger Swede Jenny Hansson (28 years old), last year’s winner. As with the men, the final climb was decisive and saw the talented Pedersen take the lead. Swede Nina Lintzen was third place.
Over 6,000 skiers competed, including 3,900 foreigners and 1,032 women, an unprecedented record. The queen of Italian cross-country skiing marathons was watched by a huge crowd as usual, lining the 70km course.
Men results – 70 km
1) Jerry Ahrlin (SWE) 02:56:52; 2) Joergen Aukland (NOR) 02:57:01; 3) Daniel Tynell (SWE) 02:57:06; 4) Marco Cattaneo (G.S. Fiamme Oro) 02: 57:34; 5) Thomas Freimuth (GER) 02:57:38; 6) Audun Laugaland (NOR) 02:58:20; 7) Espen Harald Bjerke (NOR) 02:58:41; 8) Rune Muller (NOR) 02:58:55; 9) Svein Tore Sinnes (NOR) 02:59:02; 10) Aliaksei Ivanov (BLR) 02:59:17.
Ladies results – 70 km
1) Hilde G. Pedersen (NOR) 03:22:58; 2) Jenny Hansson (SWE) 03:23:17; 3) Nina Lintzen (SWE) 03:31:26; 4) Jannicke Ostby (NOR) 03:33:31; 5) Hege Skari (NOR) 03:48:07; 6) Unni Oedegaard (NOR) 03:49:57; 7) Hanne Lilleby (NOR) 03:51:44; 8) Suvi Karjaluoto (FIN) 03:55:06; 9) Anette Rustad Nilssen (NOR) 03:55:15; 19) Tove Frikstad (NOR) 04:00:09.