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Double podium at Vasaloppet

Astrid Øyre Slind after finishing Vasaloppet 2018, in 2nd place. Photo: Stefano Zatta
Astrid Øyre Slind after finishing Vasaloppet 2018, in 2nd place. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Astrid Øyre Slind finished Vasaloppet 2018 in 2nd place. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) and Stian Hoelgaard were second and third, respectively, at the tough 90-kilometer classic race from Sälen to Mora.

With cold, draggy snow after a long period of frigid temperatures and snow falling through most of the race, conditions were brutal for the more than 15,000 racers in the 94th edition of Vasaloppet.

For Slind, who is in her third season on the Ski Classics marathon series, this year’s second place is her second time on the podium at Vasaloppet and her second time in second place. In 2016, she was fifth. Slind, who chose to ski the race with kick wax, lead at times by more than half a minute. However, in Hökberg, with less than 20 kilometers to go, she was passed. Slind also took home four of the seven preems in the race.

In the men’s race, Madshus racer Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) earned his third consecutive Vasaloppet podium. He finished third, three seconds behind the winner. Jörgen Brink (SWE) was fourth, one second from the podium. The three-time Vasaloppet champion has been among the top four racers seven times. Brink beat fellow Madshus skier Øystein Pettersen (NOR), who was fifth but was given the same finishing time.

Madshus racers snagged five of the top seven spots in the men’s race and two of the top five spots in the women’s race, where Sara Lindborg (SWE) was fifth.

Stian Hoelgaard was 3rd in Vasaloppet 2018. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Stian Hoelgaard was 3rd in Vasaloppet 2018. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Vasaloppet isn’t a matter of VO2max

Stian Hoelgaard at the finish after Vasaloppet 2017. Photo: Ski Classics
Stian Hoelgaard at the finish after Vasaloppet 2017. Photo: Ski Classics

Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) shares his best Vasaloppet advice. Photo: Ski Classics

Get the inside tips on how to prepare for the 90km classic race from Sälen to Mora.

“There are two things that make or break Vasaloppet, and it’s not your endurance or your VO2max. It’s your ability to work manage pain and fatigue and staying mentally focused,” says Stian Hoelgaard (NOR), who was on the Vasaloppet podium both in 2016 and 2017.

His top advice is to find small partial goals along the way and make sure you stay fueled and hydrated the whole time.

“Find something to look forward to along the way, and take advantage of the feed stations. It’s fun to arrive there, and always lots of people cheering,” he says.

In addition to the race supported aid stations, the pro teams have feed stations every five kilometers, and you should too.

“Most people will run out of fuel in Vasaloppet, but make sure it doesn’t happen before the finish line. That means feeding frequently and start taking feeds early,” Hoelgaard says.

The short rule is that you cant skimp on fueling for the first 80 kilometers, but if you feel great when you get to the last feed station and your battling for positions, you can consider passing it. But be aware that you can go from fine to fatal in a couple of minutes at this point in the race.

Equally important as food, make sure you have good skis that fit your weight, technique and skill level.

“Your performance and experience is totally dependent on good skis. If you are using kick wax, its worth it to stop and adjust the wax if conditions change,” Hoelgaard says.

The pro teams generally use double-pole specific skis designed for max speed and propulsion without kick wax, but Vasaloppet was won on kick wax as late as 2012. And have you considered the new Redline Intelligrip skin skis?

Check out the selection here

Stay tuned for more advice on how to attack the course, kilometer by kilometer.

This is Ski Classics 2018

Vasaloppet already has more than 60,000 skiers signed up for the 2017 winter festival. Photo: Vasaloppet

The marathon race series just announced the event schedule for the upcoming season.

Vasaloppet already has more than 60,000 skiers signed up for the 2017 winter festival. Photo: Vasaloppet

Vasaloppet is one of the 11 events that make up the 2018 Ski Classics race schedule. Photo: Vasaloppet

Season 8 of the long-distance ski championship consists of 11 events from the end of November through mid-April. (See complete schedule below)

The 2018 Ski Classics season
There are several changes for the 2018 season, starting with a new format for the Pro Team Tempo, which is the opening show of the 11-event series. This year, the Pro Team women’s tempo will be run as a pursuit race following the Pro Team men’s team tempo.

The season can be divided into three distinct phases: The first consists of two events at altitude before Christmas. From January until mid-February, the racers embark on five events in Central Europe before the season caps off with the four-race Nordic Tour mini-cup consisting of Vasaloppet (SWE), Birkebeinerrennet (NOR), Reistadløpet (NOR) and Ylläs Levi (FIN).

Vasaloppet China in early January is out, as is Årefjällsloppet in Sweden, cutting the schedule from 13 to 11 events.

Strong Madshus Marathon team
This year, Madshus racer Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) won the youth competition for the second consecutive time and with a crushing margin. He is as motivated as ever for the upcoming season. Also, 3 Madshus women among top 5 in the Overall Ski Classics Champion competition: Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) of Team United Bakeries was third, Sara Lindborg of Team Särneke was fourth and Emilia Lindstedt (SWE) of Team Ski ProAm was fifth.

Madshus racer John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won the 90km Vasaloppet in Sweden, the world’s largest and oldest classic ski race, for the third time.

Story continues below

Stian Hoelgaard was third in the 90km Vasaloppet 2017. Photo: Ski Classics

Stian Hoelgaard won the 2017 Ski Classic Youth Competition. Photo: Ski Classics

 

2018 Ski Classics Schedule
Event 1: 26th November, Prologue, Pontresina Switzerland 10 km
Event 2: 2nd December, La Sgambeda, Livigno Italy 35km
Event 3: 13th January, Kaiser Maximilian Lauf, Seefeld Austria 60km
Event 4: 20th January, La Diagonela, St Moritz Switzerland 65km
Event 5: 28st January, Marcialonga, Trentino Italy 70km
Event 6: 3rd February, Toblach-Cortina, Italy 50km
Event 7: 18th February, Jizerska Padesatka, Czech Republic 50km
Event 8: 4th March, Vasaloppet, Sweden 90km
Event 9: 17th March, Birkebeinerrennet, Norway 54km
Event 10: 7th April, Reistadløpet, Bardufoss Norway 50km
Event 11: 14th April, Ylläs-Levi, Finland 67km

 

Solid Ski Classics Season

Stian Hoelgaard was third in the 90km Vasaloppet 2017. Photo: Ski Classics
Stian Hoelgaard was third in the 90km Vasaloppet 2017. Photo: Ski Classics

Stian Hoelgaard was third in the 90km Vasaloppet 2017. Photo: Ski Classics

Stian Hoelgaard dominated the Youth Competition, 3 Madshus women among top 5 in the Overall Ski Classics Champion competition.

Hoelgaard (NOR), who won the Youth Competition for the second year in a row, earned 1269 points – almost twice as many points as the next racer. This marks the second year in a row that Hoelgaard wins the Youth competition. He was also fourth in the Overall Ski Classics Champion competition.

“I have had a great season, and I really liked skiing so many races. I made four podium finishes, and had amazing skis and was able to peak just at the right times,” Hoelgaard says. Now, the 26-year-old is hungry for more.

“I still haven’t won a Ski Classics event, so I’m already top motivated for the next season and I am looking forward to start the dryland training and the preparations for next winter, where I hope to nail my first victory.”

A season recap will be broadcasted on Monday, April 17, starting at 8:30am Central European Time. 52-minute broadcast will feature highlights from the 2016-17 Ski Classics season.
More information

Strong women
For the women, Madshus captured three of the top five in the overall Ski Classics Champion competition. Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) of Team United Bakeries was third, Sara Lindborg of Team Särneke was fourth and Emilia Lindstedt (SWE) of Team Ski ProAm was fifth.

Slind was also third in the brand new Nordic Trophy competition, which rewards the top three men and women over the last five events in the Ski Classics. All of these five events take place in the Nordic countries (Vasaloppet and Årefjällsloppet in Sweden, Birkebeinerrennet and Reistadløpet in Norway and the Ski Classics finale Ylläs-Levi in Finland).

Astrid Øyre Slind at the Birkebeinerrennet, where she was fourth after fighting for the podium to the bitter end. Photo: Inge Scheve

Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) at the Birkebeinerrennet, where she was 4th after fighting for the podium to the end. Photo: Inge Scheve

Dahl defends Vasaloppet title

John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet for the third time. Photo: Madshus
John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet for the third time. Photo: Madshus

John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet for the third time. Photo: Madshus

John Kristian Dahl won the legendary 90-kilometer classic race from Sälen to Mora for the third time, defending his victory from last year.

In addition to winning Vasaloppet last year, Dahl also won the race in 2014, his first season as a marathon skier.

Despite injuring his back in preparation for the Vasaloppet on Thursday, Dahl fought his way to the front of the pack with 4 kilometers to the finish, and won the sprint finish by a tenth of a second and a few centimeters, clocking in at 3:57:18.1. On Thursday, the 35-year-old was in such pain that he wrote off the Vasaloppet this year.

“This is amazing, a miracle. Two days ago, I couldn’t ski at all, but I thought that I would try to start the race. My back got better in the race, but my arms were totally depleted at the finish. And given that I felt cooked already at the start, it feels like a miracle that I am standing here,” Dahl said at the finish line, his voice trembling.

“I was tired already after 30km and had to let go of the lead group. But I fought my way back, taking it step-by-step and hill-by-hill,” Dahl said to reporters after the race.

Madshus marathon racer Stian Hoelgaard was third, only 0.6 seconds behind Dahl. With 903 points in the overall Ski Classics youth competition, Hoelgaard now has a substantial lead to Oscar Persson, who is second with 394 points. Hoelgaard is also third in the overall Ski Classics champion competition only 12 points behind second place.

Among the women, Madshus marathon racers Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) of Team United Bakeries was second, and Sara Lindborg (SWE) was third. They finished in 4:21:21.3 and 4:28:47.6, respectively.

Top 3 men
1. John Kristian Dahl, Team United Bakeries. 3:57:18.1
2. Andreas Nygaard, Santander, 3:57:18.2
3. Stian Hoelgaard, Team Leaseplan, 3:57:18.7

Top 3 women
1. Britta Johansson, Norgren, Lager 157, 4:19:43.4
2. Astrid Øyre Slind, Team United Bakeries, 4:21:21-3
3. Sara Lindborg, Sernäke, 4:28:47.6

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