During the summer months, Cross-Country athletes and the Roller Skiing specialists participate in several competitions around Europe. Today, we’ve included an overview of some of these interesting summer races.
FIS Roller Skiing World Cup (by NM 2007/photo: Pierre Teyssot)
In the annual FIS Roller Skiing World Cup, three stages with distance and sprint races have already taken place in the last two months, beginning with races in Piglio in Italy, followed by Villard de Lars in France and Markkleeberg/Leipzig (GER). The Italian Roller Skiing team led by the men’s 2006 overall Roller Skiing World Cup winner Alfio Di Gregorio, the strong Russian team with the current men’s overall leader Igor Glushkov and the 22nd-year-old Maria Magnusson from Sweden have been the series dominators until now. As a result, they can confidently look forward to the highlight of the season – the FIS Roller Ski Championships in Oroslavje (CRO) from 28th August to 2nd September.
Unfortunately, the fourth stage of the FIS Roller Skiing World Cup in Moscow (RUS) from the 10th to 12th August has had to be cancelled due to logistical problems. The FIS Roller Skiing World Cup will then continue in Samsun (TUR) on 15th-16th September, the last stage in the series.
Lukas Bauer (by OC Otepää)
Other examples of popular summer races include the two competitions which took place last weekend in the North – the ‘Aateli Race’ in Vuokatti (FIN) and the invitational Roller Ski Races in Sandes (NOR). The third edition of the ‘Aateli Race’ consisted of a running race followed by an uphill roller skiing race. By contrast, the competition in Sandes was only a roller skiing race. Both races have traditionally been used by top Cross-Country athletes for their summer training. The 2007 Aateli Race was won by Aino Kaisa Saarinen (FIN) in the ladies’ race and by Maxim Odnodvortsev (KAZ) in the men’s race. In Sandes, the Norwegians Marit Bjoergen and Oeystein Pettersen were successful in both races.
One of the summer’s most important tests for Cross-Country athletes will be the 17th annual Saku Suverull that will be held in Otepää (EST) on 10th -11th August. This year, the scene’s main international summer competition will celebrate a premiere as Saku Suverull 2007 welcomes its participants to two separate roller skiing competitions, a sprint and a distance race, on the newly renovated tracks, instead of the old scheme that included a prologue in roller skiing, a mass start running race followed by a pursuit in roller skiing.
Saku Suverull 2006 (by OC Otepää)”Clearly, the sprint is gaining a bigger role in Cross-Country. Our decision was to modify our event and that is why we included two different competitions in the Saku Suverull 2007 program,“ explained Tiit Pekk, Chief of Competition in Otepää and Chairman of the FIS Sub-Committee for World and Continental Cups.
The weekend will begin with a sprint competition on Friday, August 10th, held in the classical technique in the World Cup Cross-Country competition format. On Saturday, the first part of the competition for the distance racers is a free technique roller-skiing race with interval start – 10 km for ladies and 15 km for men. The start in the afternoon roller-ski race in the classical technique (ladies 12 km, men 20 km) will be a handicap start based on the morning’s results.
Skiers from 16 countries will take part in Saku Suverull 2007 and nine World Champions from Sapporo are expected to start. The Finnish force of Virpi Kuitunen, Aino Kaisa Saarinen, Riitta Liisa Roponen and Pirjo Muranen (former: Pirjo Manninen) will probably fight with the Russian A-team for the victories.
The men’s races have been quite open every year and this time it will be no exception. Norwegian skiers haven’t won a single race in the event’s history. Odd-Bjørn Hjelmeset, Frode Estil, Petter Northug, Tor Arne Hetland and Eldar Rønning are all coming to Otepää to finally try to add Norway onto the winners’ list. Add Cristian Zorzi and Renato Pasini from Italy, Dušan Kožišek from Czech Republik, Thobias Fredriksson from Sweden and a long list of Russians led by Vassili Rotchev and the sprint event should be as attractive as in the winter. Click here for more information about Saku Suverull.
Includes contributions by Veiko Ulp and Sandra Spitz