By Teemu Virtanen
The first event of the Visma Ski Classics Season X, Pro Team Tempo, offered excitement and strong performances from the top Pro Teams in the field. The 15 km race in Livigno started with the men’s race where each team’s members skied together in three-minute intervals between Pro Teams, and the time was taken from the team’s third best skier. The women started their pursuit race right after the men’s tight competition based on the time difference gained by the men.
Team Kaffebryggeriet, Norway, started a bit slow but sped up and managed to be the third fastest male team, but they did not have a female skier to finish up the race. Sweden’s Lager 157 Ski Team male skiers showed form throughout the race and finished 2nd only one second faster than Team Kaffebryggeriet. Team Ragde Eiendom, Norway, was able to shake off their bad karma they have previously experienced in Pro Team Tempo and finished as the fastest male Pro Team five seconds ahead of the Swedish team. Team Koteng started really well, but the last 5 km lap turned out to be extremely hard for them. They finished 4th and the gap between them and the winning team was 24 seconds.
In the women’s pursuit, Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, was able to catch up Team Ragde Eiendom’s Thea Krogan Murud and Emilie Fleten, right after leaving the stadium area. Astrid Øyre Slind managed to pass them as well and then it was a fight between her and Johansson Norgren. They kept the same pace to the end, and Johansson Norgren crossed the finish line first and secured the victory for her team. Øyre Slind and her Team Koteng was second while the two new faces in Team Ragde Eiendom worked together and took their team all the way to the podium. Team Ramudden was 4th, Ed System Bauer Team 5thand E-Liberty Ski Team 6th.
“I was nervous before the race,” Johansson Norgren admitted at the finish. “This was very much like last year, and I knew that Astrid is in good shape. We had the same speed and I just wanted to make sure that she can’t catch me. I think our team knows how to do this competition format, and it feels great to win again. I’m now excited about the Sunday’s race and I expect to see a tight fight against Astrid and the other strong women.”
On Sunday, the Livigno Prologue, 35 km individual mass start race, starts at 9:20 am CET with the women’s race followed by the men’s one at 11:15 am CET.
The top three Pro Teams in Pro Team Tempo:
- Lager 157 Ski Team 1:12:23.1
(Marcus Johansson, Emil Persson, Andreas Holmberg, Øyvind Moen Fjeld, Britta Johansson Norgren, Elin Molin)
- Team Koteng 1:13:04.1
(Stian Hoelgaard, Chris Andre Jespersen, Torleif Syrstad, Tore Bjørseth Berdal, Astrid Øyre Slind, Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes)
- Team Ragde Eiendom 1:13:45.0
(Petter Eliassen, Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Oskar Kardin, Anders Aukland, Joar Thele, Andreas Nygaard, Emilie Fleten, Thea Krokan Murud)