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Norwegian wins men's race and Lintzén the women’s in world’s longest #ski race.
After 220km through the Arctic wilderness, the men’s #event in the world’s longest #ski race was decided by just two seconds as Norwegian #andreasnygaard pipped compatriot Øyvind Moen Fjeld to win Red Bull Nordenskiöldsloppet.
Swede Nina Lintzén proved the class act in the women’s #event to secure victory in just over 13 hours thereby improving on her 2016 third-place finish.
Fifteen nations across 240 participants were represented at the 6am start outside Jokkmokk in northern Sweden with the vast landscapes above the Arctic Circle awaiting them.
The competitors found the early part of the race tough after a thin layer of fresh snow, however the pace began to increase in the men’s #event after 80km.
Eighteen skiers were cut to 10 and then down to four as Nygaard and Fjeld were pushed to the limit by Sweden’s Erik Melin Söderström and Finn Christoffer Lindvall.
Nygaard timed his race to perfection as first Söderström and then Lindvall fell away, the 26-year-old using his superior sprinting technique to defeat Fjeld who had to make do with an agonising runner-up spot for the second year in a row.
Nygaard revealed, “It's absurd to #ski for that long, the craziest race I’ve ever done. My strategy was to take it easy in the beginning and to just hang along while focusing on my energy intake to last all the way. I felt good even towards the end and had some forces left.
“I wanted Lindvall to get tired, trying to hunt down my team colleague. Once he was worn out, I went in the lead myself and caught up with Øyvind again with about 2 km left.
“After thousands of training hours together, I knew that I could sprint him down. Now I’m happy to have won the world’s longest skiing race.”
Elsewhere Paralympic legend Brian McKeever of Canada finished 12th and enthused, “It was a heck of an adventure. I felt a bit lonely for a while, so I was happy to get some company towards the end.”
Finally after dominating the women’s race Lintzén said, “It has been my goal for a year now to win here. It’s such a tough race that demands serious preparation. I trained hard, many sessions longer than 100km.”
More about Red Bull Nordenskiöldsloppet
Before its revival as an ultra race earlier in 2016, the #competition had laid dormant ever since the scientist and polar explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld organized it for the first and only time in 1884.
Nordenskiöld created the challenge to prove his expedition members’ ability to cover long distances in a short time after being accused of exaggerating their accomplishments during a Greenland expedition.
Pava-Lasse Nilsson Tuorda was crowned winner, covering the distance of unprepared terrain in 21 hours and 22 minutes – just seconds ahead of main competitor Per-Olof Länta.
Now being considered the world’s longest and toughest challenge on skis, the cross-country community's interest for the Red Bull Nordenskiöldsloppet was internationally high right upon the comeback announcement of the race.
Besides a majority of Scandinavian participants, there were registrations from all Alp countries as well as out of many eastern European countries, the US and the UK.
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