Petter Eliassen, Team BN Bank, and Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, dominated the Kaiser Maximilian Lauf. There were decisive breakaways early on in both the men’s and women’s races, and a cat and mouse game between the two best women.
Today, Kaiser Maximilian Lauf took place in Seefeld, Austria, after challenging weeks of constant snowfalls. The snowing ceased before the morning of the race and skiers were greeted by perfect winter conditions. The women started their race at 8:45 am followed by the men at 10 am.
In the women’s race, three skiers managed to break away in the first long hill towards the climb competition check point. Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Koteng, chose to go with kick wax and proved to be very strong in uphill sections. Today’s winner Johansson Norgren had better skis and worked hard on flat parts. Justyna Kowalczyk, Team Trentino Robinson Trainer, tried to keep up with her opponents, but double-poling in the Leutasch valley was too much for her and she soon found herself skiing alone. These three women were the podium skiers.
“I was really tired after Leutasch when we reached the steep climb about 28 km into the race,” Johansson Norgren admitted after the race. “I had a small gap, but Astrid was able to catch me, but I knew that I had a better glide since I didn’t have any kick wax. When I passed her again about 6 km before the finish, I just focused on my technique and keeping her behind in the final climbs. This was a tough race, and I’m expecting to see another tight fight with Astrid in Switzerland next weekend.”
In the men’s race, the Team BN Bank pro skiers broke away very early on and only Vetle Thyli, Team Kaffebryggeriet, was able to follow them. The team worked well together, and towards the end Eliassen took the reins and gained a small gap between him and his teammates. Øystein Pettersen was not able to follow his teammates and Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team Ragde Eiendom, passed him about 10 km before the finish. Eliassen won the race, Simen Østensen finished second while Morten Eide Pedersen was third after a close sprint finish.
“Morten started really fast and after the climb point we had a good lead,” Eliassen commented. “We just wanted to keep up the pace and make sure that the chasing group can’t catch up. Everything worked very much according to our plan. At the end, we just wanted to make sure that Vetle is not on the podium. Tough races like this wear you out and I’m sure that other skiers will get closer to us once the season continues. We’re in a really good shape now, and we hope to keep going like this.”
Eliassen and Johansson-Norgren took home sprint points today and they are also leading the Visma Alp Trophy and the Champion competition while Øyre Slind and Eide Pedersen were the fastest climbers. Eliassen also won the Visma Skier of the Day title due to his offensive skiing today. Julia Angelsiöö, Team Serneke, and Magnus Vesterheim, Team Kaffebryggeriet, took over the youth categories. Lager 157 Ski Team is currently the best pro team, before La Diagonela that takes place next Saturday, January 19.