Toni Livers and Ekaterina Rudakova win Ugra Ski Marathon
After some heavy rain over the last days, the organising committee of the last FIS Marathon Cup of the season 2014/15 decided to shorten the race course from 50km FT to 35km FT, using loops of 15km and an additional loop of 5km.
Strong headwind at the start and temperatures around +6 degrees made the snow pretty soft and the conditions very hard. A lot of racers had problems with the conditions and had to drop back sooner than anticipated.
In the end, Toni Livers (SUI), who had one of his best seasons not only in the World Cup this year, could place first. Aliaksei Ivanou (BLR), who also raced more World Cups than long distance races this season, got second and Evgeniy Belov (RUS) third.
On the women's side, Ekaterina Rudakova (BLR) showed her strength by winning the Ugra Ski Marathon this year and underligned her ambitions in the long distance circuit. Aurelie Dabudyk (FRA), placing second today, had an outstanding season as well, placing always in the top. Antonella Confortola (ITA) could also finish her winter season beautifully, placing third. She already got back into running before this last race of the season.
With the Ugra Ski Marathon concluded, which was for the first time a FIS Marathon Cup race, the FIS Marathon Cup season 2014/15 is finished.
Petr Novak (CZE) and Tatjana Mannima (EST) win the FIS Marathon Cup
Petr Novak (CZE) could finally receive the trophy for the victory of the overall FIS Marathon Cup after he crossed the finish line of the Ugra Ski Marathon. He won this year's edition with 442 points in front of Benoit Chauvet (FRA, 387 points), who like last year, got runner up in the overall cup. With his victory today, Toni Livers (SUI) could jump onto the last place on the overall FIS Marathon Cup podium, placing third with 268 points.
On the women's side, Holly Brooks (USA) could not hold on to her lead. Instead, Tatjana Mannima (EST) could gain her second overall FIS Marathon Cup victory after 2012/13. She won with 496 points in front of Aurelie Dabudyk (FRA, 484 points) who got second today. Brooks finally got third with 481 points.
Toni Livers (SUI)
The race course was difficult and hard as the snow was very soft. I saw that some of the athletes had some difficulties. There was a small group for a while and then me and another skier were able to make a gap. We worked well together all along and there were only 2 of us in the end. I was able to cross the finish line in front. It was really great!
Aliaksei Ivanou (BLR)
I was disappointed when they shortened the course, but nothing to do. It was great feeling to start in front of the others because of my last year`s victory. Last weekend, I broke a pole at the start – today it was much safer. There were a lot of good skiers today at the start and I knew that the competition would be hard. Of course I also wanted to defend my victory. I thought that maybe, we will even have a sprint finish as the wind was coming from the back during the last part of the race. I had good skis and a good position 50 m before the finish, but then one tourist hurt my leg with his pole and then Toni passed me. I am sorry that I could not make it to top 6 in the overall FMC. Now I will go to Kamchatka, to race on last stage of Russialoppet series.
Evgeniy Belov (RUS)
I am really happy with my race today! The conditions were not easy but I am satisfied.
Ekaterina Rudakova (BLR)
I was accused of having pacemakers at the race and it made me mad and gave extra power. I wanted to prove everyone that I can win. It really gave me good motivation throughout the whole race. The couse shortening did not affect me, I had lot of power in me and coud have gone on. Next year I maybe try to win the overall FIS Marathon Cup.
Aurelie Dabudyk (FRA)
I’m really happy that the race was able to take place. I`m also glad that the race was shortened. With the shorter distances there were a lot of people on the track at the same time and everony was encouraging us, which was really nice. I`m very happy with my race today.
The race was difficult today and full of surprises! I enjoyed the race and especially the fact that it was shortened. I can say that I am happy. It’s definitely another experience to add to my collection!