By Teemu Virtanen
The second day of the Blinkfestivalen weekend in Norway was devoted to a short but challenging uphill roller-ski race, Lysebotn Opp. The participating skiers had an option to do the 7.5 km climb either in skating or double-poling technique.
The double-poling competition had naturally many Visma Ski Classics athletes, and in the women’s race Astrid Øyre Slind was again extremely strong. She won Emilie Fleten by 1.23 minutes and Justyna Kowalczyk by 1.46 minutes. Thea Krokan Murud was 4th, Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes 5th, Britta Johansson Norgren 6thand Lina Korsgren 7th. These skiers were several minutes behind the winner. It seems that Øyre Slind is in great shape, and these two races certainly indicate that she is determined to go for the yellow bib with all her might when the Season X starts.
In the men’s race, Andrew Musgrave was the strongest skier again leaving Morten Eide Pedersen behind. The latter was 27 seconds slower than the Brit showing that he is also a true contender to fight for the Visma Ski Classics champion title come the new season. Sjur Røthe was 3rd, Petter Eliassen 4th, Jean Marc Gaillard 5thand Stian Hoelgaard 6th. Andreas Nygaard, the current Visma Ski Classics champion, didn’t have his strongest day as he finished 21st, and he was 4.49 minutes behind the outstanding Musgrave.
The Lysebotn Opp skating race was won by Simen Hegstad Krüger in the men’s category and Theresa Johaug was the fastest lady leaving everyone else eating her dust.