Marcialonga, the seventh Ski Classics stage and first Grand Classics event Season XIV took place today in Italy. Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, and Magni Smedås, Team Eksjöhus, won the 70-kilometer-long race in grand style.
The race that started in Moena and finished in Cavalese saw Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, and Magni Smedås, Team Eksjöhus, mastering their respective races and winning the 50th edition of Marcialonga, the seventh event of Ski Classics and first Grand Classics Season XIV.
Marcialonga’s full results can be found here.
MARCIALONGA – MEN’S RACE
In the men’s race, which started at 8:00 CET, the action started early with Mauro Brigadoi, Team Internorm Alpenplus Trentino, Klas Nilsson, Team XPND Fuel, Karstein Johaug, Team Ragde Charge, Johannes Eklöf, Team Ramudden, Fabián Štoček, and Jan Šrail, Vltava Fund Ski Team, setting the pace for the first few kilometers.
With about 63km to go, Fabián Štoček hit the front before the first climbs, stretching the field and getting a small gap with the big group being attentive, not letting the break persist. From there until Canazei, the group remained together.
At Canazei, the first Sprint checkpoint at the 18.6km mark, we saw Alfred Buskqvist, Team Ramudden, crossing first, followed by Vebjørn Moen, Team Aker Dæhlie, in second, and Lorenzo Busin, Team Internorm Alpenplus Trentino, in third position.
Right after the Sprint checkpoint, Mauro Brigadoi, Team Internorm Alpenplus Trentino, tried his luck and got a break. With 42km into the race at Pozza di Fassa, the gap was already 37 seconds from the chasing group.
Heading to the second Sprint checkpoint of the day, with about 32km to go, Brigadoi was still in the lead, but the gap dropped to only 10 seconds, with the group increasing the speed and preparing for the coming Sprint.
With the break brought back, the second and last Sprint checkpoint of the day was contested in Predazzo at the 45.2km mark, with Vebjørn Moen, Team Aker Dæhlie, taking maximum points. Karstein Johaug, Team Ragde Charge, crossed in second place, followed by Chris Andre Jespersen, Team Aker Dæhlie.
With 22km to go, the main contenders started to move up to the front of the group, preparing for the challenging last part of the race.
With 10km to go, the big group started to increase the pace, stretching the field and the Pro Teams trying to position the leaders into the front.
After some kilometers, the group was stretched out, and Lager 157 Ski Team set the pace with Runar Skaug Mathisen in the front with 3.4km to go. Behind, the fight was fierce for positioning.
With 2km to go, Team Ragde Charge took the lead, and when the skiers reached the tunnel before the final climb, Oskar Kardin was the first into the final climb.
In the last kilometer, a solid 19 skiers’ group was still fighting for the win, with Morten Eide Pedersen, Team Eksjöhus, in the lead and all the favorites just behind.
In the end, with an epic final effort, Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, sprinted to the win of Marcialonga and the first Grand Classics Season XIV. Second place went to Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team XPND Fuel, 1.0 seconds back. Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Charge, completed the podium in third place, 2.1 seconds behind.
The fastest Pro Tour skier up Cascata Hill, the second Iconic Climb Season XIV and the one who got maximum points at the Climb checkpoint was Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team XPND Fuel, with a time of 7:18.8. Herman Paus, Team Ramudden, was second, 2.3 seconds behind, followed by Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, 2.6 seconds back.
Marcialonga – Top 3 Men
1. Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team
2. Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team XPND Fuel
3. Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Charge
MARCIALONGA – WOMEN’S RACE
In the women’s race, which started 5 minutes after the men, at 8:05 CET, a fast pace was set from the gun and formed a leading group of about 15 skiers early on.
Two top names in the women’s field were missing today. Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Aker Dæhlie, joined the Norwegian National Team and is racing at the World Cup in Les Rousses, France. On the other hand, recovering from illness is Emilie Fletten, Team Ramudden.
With about 63km to go, Kati Roivas, Team Næringsbanken Stora Enso, hit the front before the first climbs, increased the tempo stretching the front group and putting Ida Dahl, Team Engon, into difficulties.
At the first Sprint point in Canazei, 18.6km into the race, Ida Dahl was back at the front of the group. At the line, Anniken Gjerde Alnæs, Team Ragde Charge, crossed first, followed by Linn Sömskar, Team Engcon, and her teammate Ida Dahl. Seventeen skiers were within 25 seconds from the front of the group with about 51km to go.
With 43km to go, a leading group of four was formed, with Ida Dahl, Magni Smedås, Anniken Gjerde Alnæs, and Jenny Larsson in the front. Two skiers were chasing behind and trying to regain contact, Linn Sömskar, and Kati Roivas.
After 4km, the chasing duo could catch up with the leaders, and a six-strong skier group was formed, heading into the second Sprint checkpoint of the day.
With about 30km to go, a new development in the front group again. Magni Smedås, Anniken Gjerde Alnæs, and Jenny Larsson were in the lead, with Ida Dahl chasing 15 seconds back. As another chasing group, Linn Sömskar and Kati Roivas were 17 seconds behind Dahl.
At the Predazzo Sprint checkpoint, 45km into the race, Magni Smedås, Team Eksjöhus, took the points, followed by Anniken Gjerde Alnæs, Team Ragde Charge, 2.7 seconds behind, and Jenny Larsson, Team Ragde Charge, 13.9 seconds back. The chasers, Ida Dahl, Linn Sömskar, and Kati Roivas, crossed the sprint 1 minute and 10 seconds behind the leader.
From there, the women’s race was about two skiers: Magni Smedås and Anniken Gjerde Alnæs. With 14.3km to go, the leading duo had a gap of 33 seconds over Jenny Larsson and 1:45 seconds over the Dhal’s group.
With only 2.5km to go, the gap was 1:04 to Larsson and 2:04 to the chasers’ trio, with the final climb fast approaching.
At the start of Cascata, Magni Smedås was first, followed by Anniken Gjerde Alnæs, 6.2 seconds behind, and Jenny Larsson, 1:15.2 back. Mid uphill, Smedås had a 35-second gap over her nearest chaser, and the win was secured.
Ultimately, Magni Smedås, Team Eksjöhus, just flew up Cascata and won Marcialonga, her first Ski Classics Pro Tour victory, and the first Grand Classics Season XIV, in a solid style and a total time of 3:14:00.0.
Anniken Gjerde Alnæs, Team Ragde Charge, finished second, 1:05.5 back, followed by Jenny Larsson, also from Team Ragde Charge, 2:04.4 behind the winner.
The fastest Pro Tour women up Cascata Hill at the Climb checkpoint and second Iconic Climb Season XIV was Ida Dahl, Team Engcon, with a time of 9:34.5, followed by Magni Smedås, Team Eksjöhus, 11.2 seconds behind, and Linn Sömskar, Team Engcon, 14.2 seconds back.
Marcialonga – Top 3 Women
1. Magni Smedås, Team Eksjöhus
2. Anniken Gjerde Alnæs, Team Ragde Charge
3. Jenny Larsson, Team Ragde Charge
SKI CLASSICS COMPETITIONS – CURRENT STANDINGS
After Marcialonga, Magni Smedås, Team Eksjöhus, and Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, lead the Champion bib competition. Anikken Gjerde Alnæs, Team Ragde Charge, is carrying the Green bib of the Sprint competition, together with Alfred Buskqvist, Team Ramudden.
Ida Dahl, Team Engcon, and Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, carry the bib for the Climb competition. The Pink bib for the best Youth is resting on the shoulders of Karolina Hedenström, Lager 157 Ski Team, and Amund Riege, Team Ramudden.
Next up is Jizerská50 on Sunday, February 12. The 50-kilometer classic race marks the eighth Ski Classics stage and Season XIV’s second Grand Classics event.