Today the classic 90 km Vasa race, or Vasaloppet, was held between Sälen and Mora in Sweden. The race is a part of Swix Ski Classics which is a series of longer ski races. Vasaloppet is held annually as a Swedish tradition. According to the legend, the first Swedish king Gustav Vasa skied the distance, chased by the Danish king who wanted to conquer Sweden. Sadly, today a cold had beaten Swedish hopes Johan Olsson and Jörgen Brink. Best Swedish skier today was Jerry Ahrlin who finished eight.
Petter Eliasson won the men’s race
The tracks were wet today and at the end it was a battle between three skiers: Petter Eliasson and Anders Aukland from Norway and Stanislav Rezac from Czech Republic. Aukland won the race in 2004 while Rezac has a few 2nd and 3rd places during the years. Eliasson is new in this context. The last 30 kilometers it was Aukland who tried to pull away from the others but without success. With a few kilometers left to go, Eliasson made his move and managed to pull away from Aukland. The both Norwegian skiers had already left Rezak behind. Eliasson held all the way to the finish line and won the 2015 Vasa race.
Results, men’s race:
1. Petter Eliassen, Norway 4:01.48
2. Anders Aukland, Norway 4:01.53
3. Stanislav Rezac, Czech Republic 4:02.12
Justyna Kowalczyk won the women’s race
At the start of the race the wet tracks combined with failure of the starting gate meant trouble. Polish Kowalczyk, who won a bronze medal at the sprint relay in the World Championships in Falun earlier, broke a pole in the beginning and was 4 minutes behind leading Swedish Britta Johansson Norgren at 11 kilometers. However, Kowalczyk fought her way back into the race again and managed to both pass and pull away from the other women. The last kilometers she was in a superior lead and won over 4 minutes before Johansson Norgren who finished in second for the second year in a row.
Hopefully we will continue to see big names such as Kowalczyk in the tracks of the longer races in the future. It is important for the status of the competitions.
Results, women’s race:
1. Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland 4:41.02
2. Britta Johansson Norgren, Sweden 4:45.18
3. Seraina Boner, Switzerland 4:49.16