Petter Northug Jr. (NOR) wins the La Sgambeda (ITA) 42km FT in Livigno – Riitta-Liisa Roponen (FIN) wins on the women's side
Right for the start of the La Sgambeda 42km FT race, the sun came over the hill an shone onto the thousands of racers, ready to start their voyage on the 21km loop through the “little Tibet” valley. And the sun shone especially on Petter Northug Jr. today – again!
After he didn't even get into the top 30 in the 30km FT World Cup race in Davos (SUI) yesterday, the Norwegian decided that he needed more races and some more training. Since he had enjoyed La Sgambeda last year, winning here his first FIS Marathon Cup, he thought this might be the thing just neede right now.
Always in the leading group, Northug managed once again to outprint everyone. However, this year it was not so easy. Petr Novak (CZE) and Aliaksei Ivanou (BLR) held hard against the sprinting Norwegian, however, it wa Northug who's foot crossed the finish line first. Only 0.7s split him and Novak in the end, and 1s to Ivanou. In total it was a huge battle on the last 200m. 24 racers got into the finish within 10s!
On the women's side, it looked a long time as it would be a hard battle between last year's winner Riita-Liisa Roponen (FIN) and Seraina Boner (SUI), last year's third placed woman. And it stayed like it until the end, with Roponen having slightly more energy left for the final sprint. Larisa Shaidurova (RUS), who raced her first ever long distance race and FIS Marathon Cup, could get into third place.
Over 1000 racers took part in todays 42km skating race during which a 21km race was held as well. Even though not much natural snow was present, the organiser did its best to ensure good conditions on the track all way round. However, some grass and little stones made their appearance, but all racers were happy to have a race on. Temperatures around -9 at the start and around -4 at the finish, perfect sunshine and a lot of cheering spectators made the race once again to a great one which was enjoyed by everyone involved.
As the winner of the first FIS Marathon Cup of the season, Petter Northug Jr. is now also the leader of the overall FIS Marathon Cup 2013-14. He leads with 100 points in front of today's second placed Petr Novak (CZE, 80 points) and Aliaksei Ivanou (BLR, 60 points).
On the women's side it's of course Riitta-Liisa Roponen (FIN) who wears now the red bib of the leader of the FIS Marathon Cup. She also leads with 100 points in front of today's second placed Seraina Boner (SUI, 80 points) and Larisa Shaidurova (RUS, 60 points).
The complete result list from today's race & the actual overall FIS Marathon Cup standing: