*News release from marcialonga.it
The 45th edition of Marcialonga of Fiemme and Fassa (Trentino - Italy) has been a record-breaking edition, with a phenomenal performance by the winner Ilya Chernousov (2:48:08). The perfect snow condition on the 70 km track – the snow was very fast and spectacular – has been helped by the cold temperatures of the morning (around -3 degrees). The village of Moena has seen about 7,500 cross-country skiers starting for this edition of Marcialonga, including the stars of the Visma Ski Classics, the long-distance ski race circuit, "bisonti" (as participants of Marcialonga are called in Italy) and other athletes, from Paolo Bettini to John Arne Riise.
Moena is the hub of Fassa valley. The "Fairy of the Dolomites" is among the most beautiful mountains of the Alps: the Dolomites with the groups of Rosengarten, Monzoni and Latemar.
As always, the final climb of "Cascata" decided the race: 2.5 km of this tough climb and 144 meters of height difference (with slopes that reach 12%) before reaching the centre of Cavalese. The final sprint will be remembered: four men to fight for the victory, while among the ladies the fight is between Norgren and Smutna. After Canazei the leading group made a decisive acceleration, and only 20 skiers were ready to face the terrible climb of Cascata. Morten Eide Pedersen is leading the group, followed by Tord Asle Gjerdalen – three times winner of the race –, Tore Bjørseth Berdal and Ilya Chernousov. The Norwegian athlete with the aviator goggles tries to attack but Pedersen resists, and Chernousov seemingly quiet. His calm is, however, that of the 'snakes' before launching the decisive attack, with the Russian skiing ahead of everyone until the finish line "Sorgenia" of Cavalese. Ilya Chernousov (2:48:08), for the first time at the ski marathon, was able to arrive ahead of five Norwegian athletes: "Marcialonga was my perfect race", he stated after the finish. Tord Asle Gjerdalen (4th) did not succeed in an historic poker of victories: "I had no power left", while Tore Bjoerseth Berdal came 2nd ahead of Morten Eide Pedersen.
As expected, in the ladies race there has been a sports battle between Sweden’s Britta Johansson Norgren and the Czech Katerina Smutna. The Swede won (3:11:48.3): Smutna (3:11:48.8) tried to keep the pace of the leader of Visma Ski Classics until the finish line: "I'm proud of my test, Marcialonga is unique in the world", stated Norgren. Third place for Lina Korsgren.
Bjørn Dæhlie, 194th, was also satisfied: "Marcialonga is a wonderful race, but I had no power left on the last climb", and John Arne Riise, who was slower: "Next year I will do better". 79th the biathlete Shipulin. In the Marcialonga Light of 45 km victories for Aleksey Barannikov (RUS) and Antonella Confortola, with Paolo Bettini to take 4 hours and 18 minutes to conclude the race.