Season XIV’s sixth Ski Classics event, 48-kilometer Engadin La Diagonela in Switzerland, saw Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Aker Dæhlie, and Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, winning the race in superior style.
The race that started in Pontresina and finished in Zuoz saw Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, and Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Aker Dæhlie, dominating their respective races and winning Engadin La Diagonela 2023, the sixth event of Ski Classics Season XIV.
ENGADIN LA DIAGONELA – MEN’S RACE
In the men’s race, which started at 8:55 CET, the action started early at the Sprint checkpoint in Samedan, 5.3km into the race, with Vebjørn Moen, Team Aker Dæhlie, crossing first, followed by Alfred Buskqvist, Team Ramudden, and Lorenzo Busin, Team Internorm Alpenplus Trentino.
With about 37km to go, after crossing the railroads, the skiers hit the steepest climb of the day, with Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team XPND Fuel, Johannes Eklöf, Team Ramudden, and Oskar Kardin, Team Ragde Charge, leading the group and controlling the pace, but no decisive action yet.
The second and last Sprint checkpoint of the day, 24.7km into the race at Lej da Gravatscha, saw fast man Alfred Buskqvist, Team Ramudden, taking the most points, closely followed by Fabián Štoček, Vltava Fund Ski Team, and Marcus Johansson, Lager 157 Ski Team. From there, the leading group of contenders kept together for the race.
At the last 10km of the race, about 35 skiers were still strong in the front, but the significant action came on the final kilometers.
With about 7km to go, Thomas Ødegaarden, Team XPND Fuel, was on the offensive at the front, setting the pace and trying to reduce the remaining 30 skiers’ group. With 3km to go, Team Ragde Charge upped the pace and tried to stretch the field.
With 1.5km to go, Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Charge, upped the pace but soon faded, leaving the front group open for the sprint fight.
In the end, Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, had an impressive sprint and won his fifth individual Ski Classics Pro Tour event this season, followed by Max Novak, Team Aker Dæhlie, 0.5 seconds back. Stian Hoelgaard, Team Aker Dæhlie, completed the podium in the third position, 3.1 seconds behind the winner.
Engadin La Diagonela – Top 3 Men
ENGADIN LA DIAGONELA – WOMEN’S RACE
In the women’s race, which started 5 minutes after the men, at 9:00 CET, we had good action already at Samedan 5.3km mark Sprint. Anikken Gjerde Alnæs, Team Ragde Charge, crossed first, followed by Magnis Smedås, Team Eksjöhus, and Jenny Larsson, Team Ragde Charge.
Right after the railroad crossing and into the steepest climb of the race, Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Aker Dæhlie, upped the pace, and only Emilie Fleten, Team Ramudden, could follow. The chasing group, formed by Anikken Gjerde Alnæs, Team Ragde Charge, and Magnis Smedås, Team Eksjöhus, tried to close the gap but was already 18 seconds back after a couple of kilometers.
The leading duo kept working together and, with 34km to go, increased the gap to the chasers to 37 seconds. Anikken and Magni were fighting hard, and Kati Roivas, Team Næringsbanken Stora Enso, could enter the chasing group.
At Val Roseg, 14.6km into the race, Fleten and Øyre Slind crossed first, with the chasing trio of Roivas, Smedås, and Gjerde Alnæs one minute back.
At Lej da Gravatscha 24.7km Sprint split, it was time for Astrid Øyre Slind,Team Aker Dæhlie, to cross first, followed by Emilie Fleten, Team Ramudden, 0.5 seconds back, and Anikken Gjerde Alnæs, Team Ragde Charge, 1:43.5 behind.
From there, the front of the race was established. With about 16km to go, the chasing trio was still together, with Roivas, Smedås, and Gjerde Alnæs two minutes behind, and the gap still growing.
With 1km to go, it was a fight between Astrid and Emilie for the top place on the podium.
In the end, with 300m to go, Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Aker Dæhlie, attacked and used all her power to win Engadin La Diagonela 2023 in a convincing performance. Emilie Fleten, Team Ramudden, crossed the line 15.6 seconds back, and Magni Smedås, Team Eksjöhus, managed to get the third podium place, 3:47.7 behind the winner.
Engadin La Diagonela – Top 3 Women
1. Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Aker Dæhlie 2:18:23.6
2. Emilie Fleten, Team Ramudden +15.6
3. Magni Smedås, Team Eksjöhus +3:47.7