At 8.55 the 44th Marcialonga started this morning in Mazzin di Fassa. The start had to be shifted from Moena to Mazzin due to lack of snow, but the organizers managed to lay a white band into the autumnal valley of Val die Fiemme/Fassa. 7500 skiers participated in today's Worldloppet race and had a perfect sunny but cold winter day. Among the starters, we find the world's top elite of marathon skiing from Norway, Sweden, France etc.
"The victory goes to Tord Asle Gjerdalen!" (2015).
"And Gjerdalen wins the Marcialonga again!" (2016).
"Tord Asle Gjerdalen wins and achieves the Triple at Marcialonga!" (2017).
The Norwegian marathon specialist again managed to leave the whole field behind him, just like in 2015 and 2016. But until the last 15km a totally different result was expected.
After the first kilometers, the leading group was built with approximately 20 skiers, among them all the top skiers from the FIS Worldloppet Cup like Poirrier, Livers, Pralong, Perrillat (was wearing the red bib). And this group kept a very high pace - from start to finish. But Andreas Nygaard from Norway was not willing to ski together and attacked the group very early in the race and worked on his own from around the 15th km. Long time it looked like his is too strong for the chasers and he will win the race single-handed, but 10 km before the finish line his advantage shrank to 20 seconds and didn't stop shrinking until a group of eight chasers led by Tord Asle Gerdalen overtook him.
In a showdown on the final climb up to Cavalese, Gjerdalen showed his cleverness and strength, came around the final corner in first and crossed the finish line winning the 3rd Marcialonga in a row. Second place, only two seconds behind, another Norwegian namely Johan Kjoelstad who out sprinted 3rd place Morten Eide Pedersen, also from Norway.
The best non-Norwegian was Toni Livers (SUI) in 9th and his teammate Candide Pralong (FRA, Rossignol Gel Interim) in 12th. Pralong is now leading the FIS Worldloppet Cup overall ranking in front of Gjerdalen and Ivan Boiteux Perrillat (FRA, Haute Savoie Nordic Team).
The possible winners in the ladies race were narrowed down quite soon in the race. At km 12 only a small group of approximately 6 women skied together and only a few kilometers later, Britta Johansson Norgren from Sweden and Katerina Smutna (CZE) broke out and started to fight as a duo. Aurelie Dabudyk, who was wearing the red bib, found her place in the chasing group.
In the end, after an exciting final on the last climb and on the finish lane, Smutna managed to beat Norgren and grabbed her second victory at the Marcialonga after 2015. 3rd place goes also to Sweden, to Sara Lindborg. Aurelie Dabudyk arrived in Cavalese 6:20 later in 5th.
Aurelie Dabudyk remains the overall leader in the FIS Worldloppet Cup, so Dabudyk and Pralong now wear the red bibs heading into next week's König Ludwig Lauf, FIS Worldloppet Cup stage 3.
Marcialonga 2017 men:
1. Tord Asle Gjerdalen (NOR)
2. Johan Kjoelstad (NOR)
3. Morten Eide Pedersen (NOR)
Marcialonga 2017 women:
1. Katerina Smutna (CZE)
2. Britta Johansson Norgren (SWE)
3. Sara Lindborg (SWE)
FIS Worldloppet Cup Overall Ranking (men and ladies)
1. Candide Pralong (FRA) 102 points
2. Tord Asle Gjerdalen (NOR) 100 points
3. Ivan Boiteux Perrillat (FRA) 100 points
1. Aurelie Dabudyk (FRA) 145 points
2. Katerina Smutna (CZE) 100 points
3. Seraina Boner (SUI) 92 points
The highlights of the Marcialonga weekend will be shown on Worldloppet-TV tonight (Sunday) at 8:00 pm CET on www.worldloppet.com.
Next FIS Worldloppet Cup stages:
König Ludwig Lauf - Germany, 5.2.2017
Transjurasienne - France, 12.2.2017
Tartu Maraton - Estonia, 26.2.2017
EngadinSkimaratho- Switzerland, 12.3.2017
Ugra Ski Marathon - Russia, 8.4.2017