What a beautiful day to go rollerskiing on this 1st of July! The sun was shining on the pearl of Telemark, Kragerø and the warm temperatures were announcing a tough race for the participant organisms. The women have been the first to start the long journey from the coast to reach Gautefall up in the mountain. The 80 km long race is the certainly the toughest of the Tour as its more than 2100 m of positive elevation!
The women race witnessed a great fight between a group of 5 elements: Kowalczyk, Gjeitnes, Kvelli, Slind and Gräfnings. The group went through the first 60 km together fighting on every intermediary sprints. At 15 km from the finish line, Kowalczyk increased the pace and broke away from the group as she did on the precedent edition. Then she reach the finish line alone with a short advantages of 50 seconds on Gjeitnes that would take the second place. Gräfnings finished 3rd 1min02 from the victory followed by Kvelli 33 seconds later. Slind wearing the Champion bib had some struggle to follow the hard paced imposed by the other girls in the final uphill, she finally ended up at the 5 places.
With this beautiful victory, Kowalczyk takes the lead in the Guide WCT Champion ranking! Gjeitnes – who has been formidable on the two Guide WCT Sprint by finishing first and then second, takes the Green bib of Guide WCT Sprint leader!
Team BN Bank Festival
The men race has been an extraordinary fight and great spectacle! On the first kilometres of the race, several accelerations forced the athletes to adopt an high pace to stay in contact of the main group. The intermediary sprints has also witnessed a impressive battles between the fastest elements of the head group. On the first Guide WCT sprint, Vinje (Team Lyn Ski) took the best over the concurrence. At 40 km from the finish line Simen Engebretsen Nordli from Team ParkettPartner broke away from the group for 15 km lone ride before to be caught up by the group in the final long climb to Gautefall. His great effort and aggressive performance on this stage has been rewarded by being elected Athlete of the Day! On the last 15 km, the peloton has been getting smaller and smaller. At 10 km they were only 6 athletes to fight for the win. At this game, the two Team BN Bank representatives Pedersen and Østensen have played hard! The pace increased dramatically in the final hill to join Gautefall Biathlon Centre, Hølgaard and Høst (Team Serneke) were the two first to do not be able to follow the pace imposed by the Simen Østensen. Then Morten Eide Pedersen broke away and the group split up. Andreas Nygaard placed number three tried to catch up Østensen on the last hectometres but couldn’t. At the end, Morten Eide Pedersen took the victory over Simen Østensen, Andreas Nygaard (team Santander) and Anders Aukland (Anders Aukland).
Guide WCT distinctive bibs:
Morten Eide Petersen (Team BN Bank) and Justyna Kowalczyk takes the Champion bib
Stian Hølgaard and Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes (Santander) takes the Sprint Bib
Joar Andreas Thele (Lyn Ski) takes the Youth bib
In the Guide WCT team ranking, Team Santander takes the lead with 540 points, followed by Team BN Bank with 390 points and Team Serneke with 282 points.
In the junior race, the young athletes have been performing on a 3o km long race. In the women category, it is the young Norwegian Igerid Vadder who take the first position of the race, bringing the blue bib of Guide WCT Junior leader back home! In the men race the Norwegian Thomas Ødegaarden won the race taking also home the Guide WCT Junior leader.
Athlete of the Day: Simen Engebretsen Nordli (Team ParkettPartner)
To read more about the ranking: Ranking 2017 Guide WCT
The full results: here
credit photo:Nils J Saetre