The interval start distance race in classic technique at the Saku Suverull showed Justyna Kowalczyk’s dominance among women and very tight results among the men. Kowalczyk won the sprint competition in the morning and was also the undisputed champion in the 10 km rollerski race in the afternoon. Only 6.2 seconds separated five best men at the finish of 20 km roller skiing. The winner in Otepää was Eugeni Dementiev as in last year.
Kowalczyk beat Virpi Kuitunen by margin of 27 seconds, third was Aino Kaisa Saarinen 46 seconds behind. After the first 5 km lap Kowalczyk was ahead of Kuitunen by 7 and Saarinen by 14 seconds. “I caught Saarinen by 30 seconds during second lap as planned. Then I managed to keep pushing despite I was very tired because of heavy program of this event, “ said Kowalczyk. Kuitunen missed again win in Estonia summer competition, but she was not worried: “I have done very little roller skiing this year. Kowalczyk is always strong at summertime. These victories mean nothing for winter season.”
Seven Word Cup individual race winners from last winter participated at men’s race. One of them, Pietro Piller Cottrer, took the leader position at first half of the distance. At the intermediate the difference between 1st and 6th place was only 4 seconds. Dementiev was the best at the last lap and beat veteran Mathias Fredriksson by 1,3 seconds at the finish. Third was Alexander Legkov, only 2,5 seconds behind the winner. Dmitrij Liashenko and Lukas Bauer were close but still outside the podium. 37 years old Andrus Veerpalu took the 6th place as best Estonian in front of home crowd.
“I hoped that I will not win. After first place here in last year my winter didn’t go well,” smiled Dementiev. “We have done so far mainly aerobic work, but we have changed our preparations comparing with last year. A lot of cycling and completely different methodics for stength training are two exapmples of changes.”
Enjoying 2008 Saku Suverull podium:
Mathias Fredriksson (2nd), Alexander Legkov (3rd). and Eugeni Dementiev (1st)
Fredriksson, Saku Suverull winner at 1999, was very pleased: “It was a surprise for me to be at the same level with Russian team at summertime. From the other hand, everything has gone smoothly so far and I have managed to avoid injuries. I decided to continue for two more seasons.”
There were skiers from 14 countries participating at 18th edition of Saku Suverull.