Classic: Tord Asle Gjerdalen and Katerina Smutnà win Toblach-Cortina

Toblach/Dobbiaco-Cortina, the 7th event of Visma Ski Classics Season VII, offered two great sprint finishes, both in the men’s and women’s races

The Italian magic was in the air again during todays Toblach -Cortina, the third Italian event in the Visma Ski Classics season VII tour, and the second consecutive one. The weather was great for long distance skiing as the temperature was just below freezing point and the snow shower from last night gave a wonderful wintery feel to the surrounding areas. By the time the elite skiers reached the Toblach stadium area, the sun was shining brightly making the day perfect for all participants.

In the men’s race, Team LeasePlan’s Petter Eliassen returned to the fold, and he made sure that the pace was kept high from the beginning. In the steep hills just before the stadium and the sprint point, Eliassen and Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team Santander, along with Team BN Bank’s Morten Eide Pedersen broke away from the pack. They continued their strong breakaway and worked together in a long strenuous climb, about 20 km, to the highest point of the course. Before reaching the top, only Eliassen and Gjerdalen were left to fight for the victory.

The last 10 km were downhill towards Fiames, the finish area about five kilometers away from Cortina d’Ampezzo. Both Gjerdalen and Eliassen approached the finish line together and after a tight sprint, Gjerdalen proved again that he is the current king of long distance skiing. Øysten Pettersen, Team BN bank was able to catch his teammate Pedersen, and they both arrived in the finish together, but the latter managed to get the last podium place.

In the women’s race, there was a group of eight skiers to the halfway point, and by the time they reached the top, six of them remained. Then, Astrid Øyre Slind, Team United Bakeries, sped up and only Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, and Katerina Smutná, Team Santander, were able to follow her. These three skiers stayed together until the finish, and Smutná’s strong sprint ensured that she took home her fourth consecutive win in Visma Ski Classics Season VII. Johansson Norgren was second, but she managed to hold on to the yellow jersey even if Smutná is closing the gap in points. Besides being the yellow bib holder, Johansson Norgren is also leading the sprint competition. Øyre Slind was third in the race and also in the overall standings at the Hertz Champion competition and also the sprint competition after this race.