Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team
Nygaard wins a second straight Red Bull Nordenskiöldsloppet in Swedish Arctic.
The longest cross country ski race in the world has come to a close with competitors facing brutal conditions on the 220km extreme course.
Nearly 400 skiers lined-up for the start at dawn in the Swedish wilderness, and attempted to double-pole for more than 13 hours in heavy snowfall and -10 degrees temperatures.
Norweigan Andreas Nygaard clinched his second consecutive win in the closing stages by outsprinting his rivals in the final 200 metres.
Emilia Lindstedt from Sweden crossed the line in little over fourteen hours to clinch the women’s class with a record margin. Here is all you need to know:
– The course is a 220km route stretching through the Swedish wilderness above the Arctic Circle. Snowfall made the race the toughest to date.
– The race dates back to 1884 when the Swedish polar explorer and researcher Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld arranged a race to prove that long distances could be covered in short time frames. In 2016 it was awakened from a 132 year hibernation.
– At 6 am on March 24th, nearly 400 skiers from 18 nations lined up for the start at Purkijaur village just outside of Jokkmokk.
– In a region that can see the thermometer drop to -40 degrees Celsius on cold days, the participants could enjoy a mild -10 degrees.
– In the beginning of the race the leading pack kept the pace at a reasonable level. After 150 kilometers a six man strong group pulled away – four Norwegian skiers, Hans Mäenpää from Finland and long distance legend Stanislav Řezáč from Czech Republic.
– On the last 10 kilometers the group split into two. Approaching the last 200 meters Nygaard managed to leave Øyvind Moen Fjeld and Řezáč behind with a strong push, crossing the finish line as a winner after 13 hours 25 minutes and 22 seconds.
– Nygaard said: “This was the toughest I’ve done. It was brutally hard. The last 15 kilometers we were a group of skiers going at maximum pace.”
– Fjeld said: “Andreas is a hard man to beat if he’s on your tail the last dash towards the finish. But I must still confess that it feels a bit annoying to lose this race three times in a row in a final sprint.”
– Emilia Lindstedt from Sweden won the women’s class with a record margin, crossing the line in 14:01:13 to claim 14th place overall. She said: “Participating in this race is both the worst and the best thing I’ve done in my life. I’ve never been so tired in my life! But the victory is by far my sweetest.”