Skarverennet, a 38K skate race starting at Finse and finishing at Ustaoset in Norway, typically attracts some of the biggest stars from both the biathlon and cross-country World Cup circuits, and this year is no different. The fields in both the men’s and the women’s race are deep and competitive. What is new this year, is that the race will be run as a pursuit, where the women will get a head start on the men, and the first racer to cross the finish line wins the overall title. How big of a lead the women will get, will be determined by the race directors and the jury, and will be announced the Friday before the race, which is scheduled for April 30.
With the new pursuit format, Petter Northug (NOR) will race against Marit Bjoergen (NOR) and her World Cup competitors, as well as the top men in the world. And biathlete Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR), who was dropped from the Norwegian national team for the World Championship relay in Oslo, will have a legitimate opportunity to prove that he is indeed faster than the top cross-country skiers. The first man or woman to finish wins the prize money of 100,000 Norwegian Kroner (roughly $18,000) and the use of a Subaru (model of choice) for a year.
The start list in the elite wave indicates that the racers are excited about the new format. Over the past few years, Skarverennet has gained the position as the unofficial season end event, which draws both biathletes and cross-country skiers at the World Cup level. Defending champion Curdin Perl (SUI) will be challenged by current World Champion Northug and several of the top biathletes including Tarjei Boe (NOR) – this season’s break-through wonder boy, and overall Biathlon World Cup winner
Frode Andresen (NOR), who has won Skarverennet several times but didn’t qualify for the World Chamipionships this year, could be another serious contender among the men. The event organizers are also excited to see what the home town favorite Pål Golberg, 20, from Hallingdal (NOR) can offer after a strong season finish including a World Cup podium. Vincent Vittoz (FRA), Michael Rösch (GER), Anders Söddergren (SWE) and Daniel Richardsson (SWE) are among other big names on the start list.
For the women, most of the top World Cup racers are confirmed for Skarverennet: Marit Bjoergen (NOR), Therese Johaug (NOR), Justyna Kowalczyk (POL), Petra Maidic (SLO), Kristin Størmer Steira (NOR), Charlotte Kalla (SWE) and Astrid Urenholt Jakobsen (NOR) are all in for the fight. The top female biathlete is Manuela Henkel (GER).
Startlist for the elite wave:
|3||Martin||Johnsrud Sundby||1983||Røa IL|
|4||Sjur||Røthe||1988||Voss IL/Team Manpower|
|16||Finn Hågen||Krogh||1990||tverrelvdalen il|
|22||Erik Kurland||Olsen||1987||IL/ROS/Team Manpower|
|23||Chris||Jespersen||1983||Byåsen IL/Team Manpower|
|24||Morten||Eilifsen||1984||Henning IL/Team Manpower|
|25||Roger Aa||Djupvik||1981||Fjellhug-Vareide-Hyen IL/Team Manpower|
|26||Stein Vidar||Thun||1981||Klæbu IL/Team Manpower|
|27||Ole Marius||Bach||1988||Byåsen IL/Team Manpower|
|3||Maiken||Caspersen Falla||1990||Gjerdrum IL|
|4||Astrid||Urenholdt Jakobsen||1987||Heming IL|
|5||Kristin Størmer||Steira||1981||Forsøk IL|
|6||Ingvild||Flugstad Østberg||1990||Gjøvik Skiklubb|
|18||Tuva||Toftdahl Staver||1990||Heming IL|
|19||Kari||Vikhagen Gjeitnes||1985||Henning Skilag|
Additionally, the race is a citizen event open to skiers of all ambitions. The event is capped at 12.220, and filled up just an hour after the general online registration opened on October 1, 2010.
(From Strafferunden.no, Skarverennet.no, March 28, 2011.)
Event web site here.
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.