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Skiskyting Åpning Sjusjøen
Sprint: Kvinner- Menn
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Bruksvallsloppet
10/15 km: Kvinner- Menn
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Rovaniemi (FIS-renn)
10/15 km: Kvinner- Menn
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Muonio (FIS-renn)
5/10 km: Kvinner- Menn| Sprint: Finale: Kvinner- Menn| Prolog: Kvinner- Menn
Tord Asle Gjerdalen jubler over sin 3. strake seier i Marcialonga etter å ha vunnet 2015, 2016 og 2017. Foto: Bragotto/NordicFocus.

Tord Asle Gjerdalen jubler over sin 3. strake seier i Marcialonga etter å ha vunnet 2015, 2016 og 2017. Foto: Bragotto/NordicFocus.

Visma Ski Classics inntar Toblach-Cortina

Ny runde i Visma Ski Classics står for tur, nå går igjen turen til Italia og langløpet Toblach-Cortina førstkommende lørdag.

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The long distance ski championship tour is nearing its halfway point, and again we have been able to witness an eventful season with splendid drama, some exciting neck-to-neck battles between great skiers and a lot of overwhelming joy on the tracks.
 
The next stop in the tour is again in Italy when Toblach-Cortina takes place this Saturday. The organizers are now happy to announce that the full 50 km course is ready for Visma Ski Classics pro skiers. The start of the race will be in Braies, like last year, and the finish in Fiames about five kilometers from Cortina dÁmpezzo. Being a Visma Ski Classics member race has a special meaning to the organizers and the area.
 
“Visma Ski Classics brings us prestige,” Stephanie Santer, the assistant chief of competition, says without hesitation. “We get more foreign skiers, particularly from Scandinavia, because of Visma Ski Classics. It gives us a lot of exposure and publicity, which then helps our tourism. It’s great to have a lot of international people coming to our area and using our ski courses and services. I think it’s wonderful that the whole tour is broadcast all over the world on TV and through the app.”
 
Tord Asle Gjerdalen and Katerina Smutná, both from Team Santander, dominated in Marcialonga in the end of January, but does Stephanie believe they will be the king and the queen of Toblach/Dobbiaco-Cortina come Saturday.
 
“I think Gjerdalen could easily win again as he is the winner from last year and he knows the course. Smutná will certainly face a tough fight against Britta Johansson Norgren. Britta is a strong double-poler and this course should suit her well. We’ll see that on Saturday. Regardless, we don’t really have any personal favorites, but of course it would be so great to have an Italian winner. In any case, we will welcome all winners with open arms.”
 
Stephanie’s predictions may turn out to be true as both Gjerdalen and Smutná are the favorites to win in Toblach-Cortina. The former leading the men’s overall competition by 179 points before his teammate Andreas Nygaard who managed to pull off a strong breakaway in Marcialonga, which almost lasted to the end.
According to Gjerdalen, Nygaard is the next superstar of the sport and in Season VIII he may be really hard to beat. Team LeasePlan’s young athlete Stian Hoelgaard is third, only 57 points behind the aforementioned Nygaard, and this rising star has also shown great potential being on the podium twice this season and placing himself fifth in Marcialonga.
 
In the women’s competition, Johansson Norgren, Team Lager 157, has a 75-point lead over Smutná who now has three consecutive Visma Ski Classics victories in this season and may take the yellow jersey from the Swede. Behind these two, Sara Lindborg, Team Serneke, and Astrid Øyre Slind, Team United Bakeries, are having a fight on their own for the last place on the podium in the overall results.

In the mens´ sprint competition, Nygaard is in a league of his own as the second best sprinter, Team LeasePlans´ Anders Höst, is 100 points behind. Nygaard admitted that his primary focus will be on the sprint for the rest of the season despite of his current status, 2nd, in the overall standings. If Nygaard is overpowering in his sprinting abilities, so is Norgren who dominates the competition on the women’s side. Smutná is 120 points behind her, and the toughest competition between these two great skiers will be for the yellow jersey, not the green one.
 
The youth categories are currently being led by Stian Hoelgaard, Team Leaseplan and Svenja Hoelzle, Team Synnfjell. Their leads seem to be quite secured, but anything can happen when it comes to sports and particularly long distance skiing. In the Pro Team competition, Team Santander has a strong lead over Team Lager 157 as the latter is almost 1000 points ahead.

Facts Toblach-Cortina:
Location: Toblach, Cortina, Italy
Date: Saturday 11th February
Time: Women elite CET 09:30 Elite men CET 10:00
Distance: 50km
Participants: 1400
Broadcast start: CET 09:15 on play.vismaskiclassics.com
Press conference: Live on Visma Ski Classics Facebook Friday 10th at CET 1600

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