In around -4 degrees and under a light snowfall, the 41st Marcialonga started in Moena this morning. Around 8000 racers took part – from elite racers to cross country enthusiasts and passionate skiers. However, the first ones had the hardest job as light snowfall just before the race had put a cover over the tracks and made the race very slow in the first half. Normally, by the time the athletes reach the half stage mark when they return to the start in Moena, they are already spread out – but not this time. Even in Lago di Tesero, not very far from the finish, over 20 athletes were still together, but already with Simen Oestensen (NOR) as leader. This should not change until the finish. The Norwegian who had been third once in the overall Tour de Ski standing (2007) pushed hard and enlarged tha gap to his followers on “La Cascada” - the steep 3km long last uphill to the finish in Cavalese.
Behind him, the battle was open for the second on third spot: The men had gotten themselves a gap to their followers, but none would give the other a milimetre advantage. So the fight was hard until the finish line. In the end, John Kristian Dahl (NOR) got some centimetres advantage over Joergen Aukland (NOR), the winner of the last two years. Johan Kjoelstad (NOR) had to take the wooden medal with forth place.
On the women's side evverybody thought it will be another victory for Seraina Boner (SUI). However, having been in bed for the last days, the Swiss gave everything she had but today, the Russian Julia Tikhonova was stronger. She got a gap right after they passed Moena on the way to Predazzo which she could increase until the end. Boner had to race a long time by herself but could asure that the second palce was safe for her. The surprising third became Annika Löfström from Sweden. Spread out in the men's field, the women had to fight their own way to the finish.
Petr Novak (CZE) still leader of the overall FIS Marathon Cup – the same goes for Roponen (FIN)
On the men's side, there is no change in the FIS Marathon Cup ranking: Petr Novak (CZE), who had not raced today, still leads with 180 points in front of Martin Koukal (CZE, 120 points), who got 32nd today, and Petter Northug (NOR) is in third place, ex aequo with Simen Oestensen (NOR), with 100 points.
On the women's side, Riita-Liisa Roponen (FIN) also stays in the lead with 200 points, in front of Julia Tikhonova (RUS) who now has 180 points and Seraina Boner (SUI) who is third with 160 points.
The complete result list from today's race & the actual overall FIS Marathon Cup standing: