Sunday, August 21st 10/ 15km individual classic races in Otepää
The long weekend of FIS Rollerski World Cup races was concluded on Sunday, 21st August with a 10km/15km individual race in Classic technique.
10km junior women
Junior women were the first to start the competition at 9:30 in the morning. There were the same favorites as previous days, Kazakhstan athlete Mariya Gerachshenko and Italian Anna Maria Ghiddi to battle for the victory. It was a young 15-year-old Estonian Gerda Kivil who surprised everyone. This race was her second FIS race ever, first was the skate sprint race on Friday where she took third place. Kivil fought a comfortable lead after the first lap, leading by more than 10s in front of fellow Estonian Andra Aavik and 15s in front of Ghiddi and Gerachshenko. Although she wasn’t able to keep the same speed for the second lap, the lead she had was more than enough. Kivil won by 4,4 seconds ahead of Gerachshenko and 11,1 ahead of Ghiddi. Aavik lost even more time on second lap than Kivil and finished fourth (+29,7s).
In the World Cup overall standings it was Anna Maria Ghiddi who continued to keep the red jersey.
10km elite women
The elite women category started their race right after juniors and it was just a brutal demonstration of strength and power by 14 times roller-ski World Cup winner and 10 times roller-ski World Champion Linn Soemskar from Sweden. She had more than 20 second lead in front of Chinese Ma Qinghua after her first lap and increased it to 53,4 seconds by the end of the second lap. Estonian Aveli Uustalu took third place, 8,1 seconds behind Ma Qinghua. She was followed by 5 other Estonian skiers (Udras, Kaasiku, Pulles, Tuul, Kaasiku) before the first Italian, Elisa Sordello on 9th place. Second best Chinese and 10th place in overall was Zhou Yang.
15km junior men
After women had returned their roller skis, it was time for junior and senior men to race their 3-lap individual classic competition. Junior race was dominated by Swede Malte Juttedal, the same way as he did the day before in the mass start skate race. Although after the first lap he had just a 4 second lead in front of last year’s winner Oleksander Lisohor (UKR) he increased it to more than 20s after the second lap and almost 35 seconds in the finish. Swede Anton Grahn, the winner of the Friday’s sprint race, finished third (+54,3) and Italian Aksel Artusi fourth (+58,7s). Kazakh Sultan Bazarbekov took the fifth place and best Estonian, Ralf Kivil was 6th. He is the brother of the junior women winner Gerda Kivil.
15km elite men
The roller-ski World Cup weekend in Otepää ended with a fierce battle for the 15km classic race victory in the men’s race. It was Estonia against Norway. Martin Himma (EST) who was a bit unlucky last year, finishing just 0,6 seconds away from the podium had decided to go all in. His first lap time 11:22,4 was fastest until the last started competitor Amund Korsaeth (NOR) came, he was 2,2 faster than Himma. Another Norwegian Patrick Fossum Kristoffersen was just 4,2s behind Himma.
After the second lap it was just 2,3 seconds that separated Himma and Korsaeth and Kristoffersen was just 1,9s behind Himma. All of them managed to increase the speed on the final lap and since Korsaeth had all the split times from others he was able to squeeze more out of his body and took the win by 5,4 seconds ahead of Himma and 7,5s ahead of his team-mate Kristoffersen. Italian Matteo Tanel was 4th, he was caught by Korsaeth just a lap before the finish and he was able to keep up with the speed set by Norwegian. That extra boost lifted him 4 places higher than he was after 10km. Fifth place went to Estonian Alvar Johannes Alev, who also got some help from Himma on his last lap and climbed 4 spots higher than he was at 10km mark. Sixth was Italian Michael Galassi, second place winner a day before in the mass start skate race. 7th was Latvian Raimo Vigants, the winner of the Friday’s sprint race. 8th place went to Simon Karlsson, 9th Tomasso Dellagiacoma and Ukrainian Dmytro Drahun rounded up the top 10. First one out of top 10 was Chinese Li Minglin who surprised with 6th place finish a day before in the mass start skate.
The next FIS Roller-ski events will be in Madona, Latvia, where the junior World Champions start on Thursday, August 25 with individual classic races.