Dario Cologna won the Engadin Ski Marathon for the third time. He relegated Anders Gløersen (NOR) and Ilia Chernousov (RUS) to 2nd and 3rd place in the final sprint. In the women’s race, Mari Eide (NOR) took the win ahead of Rahel Imoberdorf (SUI) and Caitlin Gregg (USA). Perfect conditions and bright sunshine made for an excellent race; the winner’s finishing time of 1:27,46 clocked in at three minutes above the record.
After having won the great classic from Maloja to S-chanf in 2007 and 2010, Dario Cologna took home his third victory on Sunday. It was a fast race, as expected, and Cologna held tactically good positions throughout the race. The young Swiss duo Dajan Danuser and Beda Klee still managed to break away and at times had a lead of well over 100 metres.
"The Swiss team knew ahead of the start that Danuser and Klee would try to break away," said Dario Cologna to the media at the finish. It came as no surprise to Cologna, though, that the youngsters did not manage to stay ahead of the field until the end. "It’s a daring move, but unfortunately, you seldom get to reap the fruits of your efforts."
After the field had joined the lead, Anders Gløersen began setting a faster pace; by the final stretch, Cologna had manoeuvred himself into the top three. He then started the attack with a sprint up the final hill in the stadium, with the Norwegian Anders Gløersen and the Russian Ilia Chernousov, the winners of 2014 and 2015 respectively, close behind. It was neck and neck, and Cologna was sure of his victory on the finishing line only.
Anders Gløersen was not left disappointed for too long after losing the final sprint: the Norwegian athlete happily congratulated his girlfriend Mari Eide on her victory in the women’s race. She had been able to keep up with the male lead for much of the race. She opted to skip food in Pontresina and then found it difficult to keep a fast pace after Samedan. What’s more, she wasn’t sure that she was leading. "I did see the leader’s snowmobile was very close by, but I wasn’t sure I had won until after I had crossed the finishing line; I had to ask someone an official," smiled the Norwegian athlete; she had already won the Engadin Night Sprint in St. Moritz on Friday.
The Swiss Rahel Imoberdorf took 2nd place behind Mari Eide, and the American Caitlin Gregg came in third. Imoberdorf had finished last Sunday’s Women’s Race in third place and had reached the finals in Friday’s Night Sprint. On Sunday, she managed to stay close to Mari Eide, but at the finishing line, she was some 100 metres, or 17 seconds, behind the winner from Norway.
Engadin Marathon Week a success despite bad weather
With close to 15,000 participants in six races, the Engadin Marathon Week was a big success. Following the picture-perfect weather at Sunday’s Women’s race, rain kicked in on Wednesday and Thursday’s Night Race turned into a race in the rain. The track grooming team had a tough time to get the tracks ready, but Sunday’s excellent conditions made up for the many extra hours and night shifts that all the helpers had to put in.
"The volunteers and piste groomers did a fantastic job," praises Menduri Kasper, the managing director, who took over this year. "It was a tough week, and the rain was a big challenge. But we all worked as one towards the same goal, and we succeeded in organising and excellent race for all our participants."
The President of the Engadin Ski Marathon Association deems the marathon week 2017 to be a success, too: "The transition to the new organisation worked well. The teamwork between the new management team and the existing staff, team of helpers and outside specialists worked seamlessly," comments Urs Pfister. "The Night Race that we launched this year was a big success despite the rain; the two Sunday races, the Women’s Race and the Marathon, spotlighted the Engadin and the sport of cross-country skiing beautifully. We are proud to have been able to keep up the high standards of this very popular event and are looking forward to the 50th anniversary of the Engadin Ski Marathon next winter."
1. COLOGNA DarioSUI1:27:46.00
2. GLOEERSEN AndersNOR+0.6
3. CHERNOUSOV IliaRUS+0.7
4. MANIFICAT MauriceFRA+2.0
5. JAY RenaudFRA+2.1
6. GAILLARD Jean MarcFRA+2.7
1. EIDE MariNOR1:34:18.10
2. IMOBERDORF RahelSUI+0.17,6
3. GREGG CaitlinUSA+0.23,8
4. BONER SerainaSUI+1:19,7
5. GRAEFNINGS MariaSWE+1:50.0
6. STAVER TUVA ToftdahlNOR+150.1