Final weekend for FIS Marathon Cup - 46th Engadin Skimarathon is ready
Source: Worldloppet and FIS Marathon Cup Newsletter
Whereas most parts of central Europe have not seen much of the “white gold”, as the snow is called as well sometimes, the Engadin Valley in Switzerland had seen more than enough of it it seems. Too much snow is also not good as one can see here: Due to too much snow on the lakes, these could not freeze thoroughly through with the result that for a long time, the marathon track could not be prepared as heavy machines could not get on the lakes for grooming. However, the track is now prepared (by skidoo, but matching the high criteria for the marathon track) and people can already enjoy skiing and training on it. But due to these complicated circumstances, the start area of the 46th Engadin Skimarathon will look slightly different: There will be a so called “box-start” with the whole starting area being situation on land and not as usual on the lake. People of one start group will gather in a “start box” prior to their start time and will then go together to the start line from where they can start skiing individually. Due to a special timing chip, it's possible to receive an individual race time for all racers. For the elite racers however, the starting procedure does not change. The original race track will also not change – the whole course from Maloja to S-chanf is in a very good condition and the last part of it has already seen a successful Frauenlauf last weekend.
In total, almost 13.000 racers will start in Maloja on Sunday – a plus of over 7% to last year's race and it looks all good that the record number of 13.000 racers will be reached! All will start either in the 42km marathon or in the half marathon which takes place at the same time. Almost 10.000 men alone have enterd the 42km Engadin Skimarathon so far! People will come from 43 different countries including around 60 different nationalities!!! That skiing keeps you young shows also the oldest male and female attendant: He is born in 1926 and she in 1936!!!
The weather forecast looks also very promising with wonderful sunshine and 3-6 degrees during the day while at night, around -10 degrees will be reached!
On Friday, there will again be the Sprint in St.Moritz, more precise in and around the partners village of the Engadin Skimarathon. Surely again an exciting race as it had been the case during the last years!
THE RACERS – WHO IS ON THE START LIST
Olympic medallists and athletes who have skied at this year's winter Olympics in Sochi (RUS) will be at the start line of this 46th Engadin Skimarathon as well as the best of the FIS Marathon Cup. The latter ones are still fighting for the victory in the overall cup and it's tight – in the men's ranking as well as in the women's one!
On the men's side, the French bronze medallists in the relay event of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, Ivan Perrillat Boiteux, Robin Duvillard and Jean-Marc Gaillard are all scheduled to race the 42km from Maloja to S-chanf. Where as the two first ones are no newcomers to the Engadin, it would be a first time one for Gaillard. After his victory in the American Birkebeiner (USA) and his gaining of the leader bib of the overall FIS Marathon Cup, Tom Reichelt from Germany will certainly do everything he can that he still has this bib also after this final race of this year's FIS Marathon Cup. However, his strongest contestants, Martin Koukal (CZE), Benoit Chauvet (FRA) and Petr Novak (CZE, participant at the Sochi Olympics) will all be at the start line to try their luck and win the overall title.
Aiming maybe not for the overall title but for the victory of the day are surely all athletes from the Italian long distance team including the second and third of the American Birkebeiner Simone Paredi and Sergio Bonaldi! Both still have chances for the overall title, even though these are very small. Last year's second of the Engadin Skimarathon, Cristian Zorzi is equally on the start line as are almost all Swiss national team athletes including Toni Livers, Remo Fischer and Gianluca Cologna (SUI, participants of the Sochi Olympics), Roman Furger (SUI, winner of the Engadin Skimarathon 2012). Cyril Gaillard and Renaud Jay (FRA; participants of the Sochi Olympics), Martin Hammer (NOR, last year's fifth), Christophe Perrillat (FRA, last year's third), Martin Baijcicak (SVK, participant of the Sochi Olympics), Ilia Chernousov (RUS, Olympic medallist at the Sochi Olympics), Matthias Inniger (SUI), Mathias Wibault (FRA, winner of La Transjurassienne this year), Anders Gloersen (NOR, 4th in last weekends 15km FT WC in Lahti), Torin Koos (USA, participant of the Sochi Olympics) will all do their bit to get the big trophy which awaits the winner of the Engadin Skimarathon.
On the women's side, Seraina Boner (SUI), Riita-Liisa Roponen (FIN), Anouk Faivre-Picon (FRA), Holly Brooks (USA), Bettina Gruber (SUI), Katrin Zeller (GER) and Valentina Shevchenko (UKR) – all having participated in the Sochi Olympics - will be on the start in Maloja. Antonella Confortola (ITA), the current leader of the overall FIS Marathon Cup will try to not only to gain the victory of the day but also to stay in posession of the leader bib after the race. The victory in the overall FIS Marathon Cup would certainly be a very special highlight in her long career! However, Riita-Liisa Roponen as well as Seraina Boner are strong rivals in this fight!
The complete startlist can be found here: http://www.worldloppet.com/fmcstart.php
NEWS FROM OTHER WORLDLOPPET RACES: VASALOPPET & FINLANDIA HIIHTO SUCCESSFULLY HELD, BIEG PIASTOW HELD AS WELL DESPITE DIFFICULT CONDITIONS
John Kristian Dahl (NOR) and Leila Kveli (NOR) win this year's Vasaloppet! For her it was the second consecutive victory! More on the race and about the difficut weather conditions which made this 90th anniversary race a very special and very hard one, can be found here: http://www.worldloppet.com/N/185539/john-kristian-dahl-and-laila-kveli-won-vasaloppet-2014.htm
Finlandia Hiihto (FIN):
Mild weather and lack of snow did also made the holding of this year's Finlandia Hiihto a real challenge. However, both races, the freestyle technique race as well as the classic technique one were carried out, but in a shortened version. More about this years Finlandia Hiihto can be found here: http://www.worldloppet.com/N/185159/debutant-took-the-victory-in-mens-tight-finlandia-ski-marathon.htm and here: http://www.worldloppet.com/N/185458/kari-varis-the-king-of-finlandia-ski-marathon-already-ninth-time.htm
Bieg Piastow (POL):
Due to warm temperatures and lack of snow, this year's 38th Bieg Piastow faced difficult conditions. The FIS Marathon Cup had to be cancelled and all races were shortened. However, about 2000 racers took part in last weekends challenge. More about the 38th Bieg Piastow can be found here: http://www.worldloppet.com/N/185565/38bieg-piastow-saved-inspite-very-tough-conditions.htm
IMPORTANT DATES AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Winners in 2013:
Men: 1st Pierre Guedon (FRA), 2nd Cristian Zorzi (ITA), 3rd Christophe Perrillat (FRA),
Women: 1st Riita-Liisa Roponen (FIN), 2nd Seraina Boner (SUI), 3rd Anouk Faivre-Picon (FRA)
More information on the race:
Course map: http://www.engadin-skimarathon.ch/sites/documents/strecken-verpflegungsplan-esm14_web.pdf
Upcoming Worldloppet races:
March 15: Birkebeinerrennet (NOR) – 54km CT & Demino Skimarathon (RUS) – 50km FT