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ROL World Cup N° 2 report from Estonia
All images by Flavio Becchis

Friday, 20th August - SPRINT

Click here for Friday's Sprint results.
The second stage of FIS Rollerski World Cup was hosted by the Estonian Ski Federation and took place in the famous ski stadium in Otepää. On Fridays Sprint races, more than 140 athletes from 11 different nations gathered in the midst of their high-volume training period schedules to sharpen and compare their performances.

The Sprint in Free technique was held on a 1,3km loop that took athletes from the biathlon stadium around the shooting range up to the Tehvandi hotel and back to the stadium.

High profiled line up in the senior categories

The races started out with suprises of the high profiled line-up by current Overall and Distance World Cup champion, Alexander Bolshunov and his Russian team colleague Denis Spitsov. Neither one managed to qualify for the heats and had to await their turns for the rest of the weekends races. 

Instead, Patrick Fossum Kristoffersen from Norway set the fastest qualification time with 2:17,8 - over 3s faster than Italian Matteo Tanel. It seemed that nothing is standing in way for Kristoffersen’s success that day as he was controlling his heats in quarter and semifinals and leading the way with high-speed racing in the final race as well. All the way until the very last corner where Erik Silfver (SWE) made his move and took the lead. From there it was 150m to finish and it was last minute for Latvian Raimo Vigants to wake up. That is exactly what he did, he outrageously accelerated, overtook Kristoffersen and came into last 50m side-by side with Swede Silfver. To Swede’s surprise, Vigants had one more gear in his engine which he used to take the World Cup stage win and the yellow jersey as for the current World Cup leader.

In the womens race, Natalia Nepryaeva (RUS) clearly won the qualifier by more than a second ahead of Alena Prochazkova (SVK). She dominated her quarter and semifinal heats as well. In the final it was a close battle with four women all the way until the last corner where Nerpyaeva started to show her real strength. She outsprinted her rivals finishing ahead of Mariel Merlii Pulles (EST), Alena Prochazkova and Jackline Lockner (SWE). Prochazkova is continuing as a leader of the Rollerski World Cup and owned the yellow jersey.

Untouchable leaders in the junior categories

In junior men, Jachym Cenek from Slovakia had a big day when winning the qualifier and easily making his way to the finals where he did not let any doubt or luck to come between him and the highest stage at the award ceremony. He pushed the gas pedal fully already after 400m and never looked back from there, confidently taking the fully deserved victory, followed by his rivals Lauris Kaprkalejs from Latvia, Ludvig Berg from Sweden and Anders Veerpalu from Otepää (EST). Cenek continued to wear the FIS Roller Ski World Cup leader red jersey after the Sprint in Otepää.

In the junior women categories, Alexandra Kazakova's (RUS) path to victory was a similar one. Her superiority over others was mostly seen in the qualifier where she was almost 7 seconds faster than any of her rivals. She dominated every heat until the final and even there she continued to rock the boat and winning the Sprint in Free technique. She was followed by Samanta Krampe (LAT), Anastasiia Kompaniiets (UKR) and Laura Mortagna (ITA). In FIS Roller Ski World Cup standings, Laura Mortagna is the one continuing to hold the red jersey.

Saturday, 21st August - MASS START

Click here for Saturdays results.
The city of Tartu was the place to be for day two of Estonians ROL World Cup weekend. 

The racecourse was same for both junior and senior athletes and both men and women. It took athletes to the roads outside the city’s border and consisted of two 12,5km laps and 500m start and finish sections.

First off the start at 11am were 32 senior men, junior men, women and junior women followed with 1 minute intervals between each groups.

Crash impacts the senior race

Men began with high pace put on by Italian Matteo Tanel until a sudden and serious accident happened on the fastest downhill after 6km of racing. A sudden maneuver by one of the athletes in the group wiped down over 10 men including Russian National team skiers Bolshunov, Spitsov and Chervotkin.

The rest of the men who managed to stay on their feet continued to push hard and a group of 15 athletes continued, mainly led by Italian athletes. Things started to get moving again about 7km before the finish when one of the Italians tried to escape the group followed by attack from yesterday’s winner Raimo Vigants. The third attack by Russian Ilja Bezgin was finally successful and he managed to get about 10 second lead from the group on a slight downhill section of the course. When entering the last 500m straight road to finish it seemed that nothing can spoil the success for the Russian. But Italian Matteo Tanel had other plans when he started his long finish sprint. He was able to close that 10 second gap with Bezgin and even outsprinted him in the last meters of the racecourse. He was closely followed by Bezgin and Russian Ivan Anisimov and rest of the leading group of athletes.

Junior race victory taken by Sweden's Jutterdal

There were no serious breakaways in junior men’s race and more than 20 athletes came together to the final sprint. The fastest today was Swede Malte Jutterdal, followed by Estonians Steve Vahi and Anders Veerpalu who was the winner in the same event a year ago.

Tight fight for the hot spots in women categories 

A photo finish was needed to distinguish the small gaps between the first three athletes. Sandra Schuetzova was the first over the line, followed by yesterday’s winner Natalia Nepryaeva and Italian Elisa Sordello.

The finish for junior women was similar, a big group of athletes fighting with each other until the very end. Despite all the effort from her rivals, second consecutive win of the weekend belonged to Alexandra Kazakova from Russia. Second place for Latvian Samanta Krampe and third place to rollerski World Cup overall leader Laura Montagna.

Sunday, 22nd August - 10km/15km

Click here for Sundays results.

The grand finals of the long FIS Rollerski World Cup races in Estonia, the crew met up back in Otepää for the scheduled individual 10km C for women and 15km C for men.

Womens junior categories start off final race day

Junior women were the first to start their competition. The Ukrainan team took the charge from early on. By the end of the first 5km lap they had built up a triple lead with Marianna Sehlianyk, Anastasiia Nikon and Mariia Chamara. They managed to only keep the first two podium places since Hedving Altmäe (EST), Laura Laan (EST) and Laura Mortagna (ITA) were able to increase their speed on the second lap and overtake Mariia Chamara. Russian star of the weekend, Alexandra Kazakova had the fastest lap time on her second time around Tehvandi roller-ski track (13:49,8) but due to a very slow first one she couldn’t climb higher than 6th place. It was Sehlianyk who took the win, 24,7 seconds ahead of team-mate Nikon and 27,2 ahead on Estonian Altmäe. Laura Laan finished just 1,4 seconds away from podium and Laura Mortagna 5,7s away. After this weekend the FIS Roller Ski World Cup red leader jersey for juniors belongs to Samanta Krampe after her solid 7th place today following 2 times second place previously.

Nepryaeva league of her own

Women started their race one by one right after juniors and it was just a brutal demonstration of strength and power by Russian Natalia Nepryaeva. She had almost 30 second lead in front of her teammate Mariya Istomina after the first lap and increased it to 54,3 seconds by the end of the second lap. Istomina took the second place just 3,7 seconds ahead of the Rollerski World Cup overall leader Czech Sandra Schuetzova. Yana Kiprichenko took the fourth place, already 1 minute 25 behind her teammate Nepryaeva. She was followed by twin sisters Kaidy and Keidy Kaasiku from Estonia (+1:37 and +1:40 respectively).

Lisohor takes the mens junior victory

After the women had returned their Rollerskis, it was time for the men to step on the race course for their 3-lap sessions. The junior race was dominated by Ukraina again. Although Oleksander Lisohor had just a 10 second lead in front of his closest rivals after lap 1, he managed to extend it to 1 minute and 5 seconds by the end of the third lap. With his time 35:34,2 he would have been ranked as 8th in senior men’s race as well.
Russian Maxim Lipkin finished second thanks to a fast final lap in Tehvandi. He was followed by Saturday’s winner Malte Jutterdal from Sweden (+1:13,5). The overall leader of junior Rollerski World Cup, Latvian Lauris Kaparkalejs finished fourth (+1:28,2). The best Estonian was Anders Veerpalu (+2:10,7) who took 6th place, behind Ukrainian Volodymyr Aksiuta (+1:43,2).

Russian senior World Cup athletes back in charge

For the whole weekend it had been tough luck for Russian national team men, but it all got a proper change when it was time for these men to put on classic rollers. Alexander Bolshunov (bib #60), Alexey Chervotkin (bib #59) and Alexander Terentev (#58) started within 1 minute from each other and hit the gas right from the start. Bolshunov had his eyes on his teammate Chervotkin after closing 16 seconds on the first lap. Bolshunov was on fire and managed to shave off another 3 seconds on the second lap, but Chervotkin never let Bolshunov too close that 30 second start interval finishing 10 seconds in front of him. But that was more than enough for Bolshunov who clocked the time 32:34,2, Chervotkin second (+20,1) and their team-mate Terentev third (+1:11,3). Estonian Martin Himma had been virtually chasing Terentev the whole way, +1,5 seconds after the first lap, +1,9 after the second and only +0,6 seconds in the finish. That gave him the bitter taste and 4th place in the final rankings. Swede Erik Silfver had a solid performance and finished 5th (+1:24,7) and Ukrainian Oleksii Krasovskyi took the 6th place (+1:25,6). The leader of the FIS Rollerski World Cup continue to be Latvian Raimo Vigants after taking 9th place in the last race of the weekend.

The third stage of FIS Rollerski World Cup will be hosted by Latvians as the next FIS Rollerski competitions are scheduled for the upcoming weekend in Madona.

 

 
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