Ylläs-Levi in Finland, the 14th and final event in the Visma Ski Classics Pro Tour Season XII, took place today with a 70-kilometer long-distance event in classic technique and thrilling ending.
The women’s race started at 7:40 CET, and all came to an end for Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, and Lina Korsgren, Team Ramudden, as the event marked their final Pro Tour career start.
An early big front group was formed, with real action already in the first kilometers with Anniken Gjerde Alnes, Team Ragde Charge, in front.
At the first climb of the day at Kellostapulinkuru, 7.5km into the race, Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, crossed first. She was closely followed by Ida Dahl, Team Ramudden, 0.6 seconds back, and Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Koteng Eidissen, 1.0 seconds behind.
After the climb and heading down to the Sprint, a small group was formed, with Johansson Norgren, Dahl, Øyre Slind, and Fleten at the front.
At the Äkäslompolo Sprint checkpoint, after 14.6km, Gjerde Alnes attacked first, and only Johansson Norgren could follow. Anniken Gjerde Alnes crossed first and grabbed maximum points, followed by Britta Johansson Norgren, 1.1 seconds back, and Lina Korsgren, 6.8 seconds behind.
Seven skiers formed the front group after the Sprint and into the second climb and kept the pace high. At the second Climb checkpoint of the day at Kukastunturi, 21.8km into the race, Emile Fleten crossed first, followed by Britta Johansson Norgren in second and Ida Dahl in third.
After the climb and into the rolling terrain to the finish line, the front group was reduced to five skiers: Dahl, Johansson Norgren, Fleten, Øyre Slind, and Krokan Murud, all working hard and keeping the pace high.
With about 29km to go, Johansson Norgren tried to break and got a small gap but was soon joined by Øyre Slind and Krokan Murud. The trio worked well together until Britta and Astrid could get a break.
Over the kilometers and about 12km to the line, Johansson Norgren and Øyre Slind had a gap of 33 seconds over Krokan Murud and more than 3 minutes and 30 seconds over Dahl.
In the end, it was a sprint battle for the first place. Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, won Ylläs-Levi in beautiful sprint style with a time of 3:25:39.7, bringing the curtain down on her incredible career in the best possible way.
Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Koteng Eidissen, finished in second place, 2.5 seconds behind, followed by Thea Krokan Murud, Lager 157 Ski Team, in the third spot, 1 minute and 22 seconds back.
The men’s race started at 7:35 CET, five minutes before the women’s, with the pace high from the gun with Andreas Nygaard and Emil Persson in the front.
Starting the first uphill, Johan Hoel, Team Ragde Charge, was on the offensive, and soon the field transformed into a long line. At the first Climb checkpoint of the day at Kellostapulinkuru, Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, crossed first and got maximum points. Max Novak, Team Ramudden, and Stian Hoelgaard, Team Curira, followed in second and third place.
At the only Sprint checkpoint of the day at Äkäslompolo, 14.6km into the race, Oskar Kardin, Team Ragde Charge, crossed first, followed by Max Novak and Johannes Eklöf, Team Ramuddden, in second and third.
Heading to the second Climb checkpoint, Max Novak pushed the pace and brought a small group with him. At the Kukastunturi Climb checkpoint, 21.8km into the race, Max Novak took the lead and crossed first, followed by Emil Persson in second and Johan Hoel in third. The chasing group followed around 34 seconds back.
After the Kukastunturi Climb and heading into the Pyhäjärvi checkpoint, the five skiers in front: Novak, Persson, Hoel, Paus, and Eklöf, had a 32-second gap over the chasing group. Some kilometers later, the gap increased to more than 40 seconds, and with around 31km to go, their advantage was over 1 minute and 8 seconds.
With about 15km to go, Team Ragde Charge, on an interesting move, increased the pace and split the chasing group, bringing the difference down to 1 minute. Seven Pro Tour skiers formed the that group: Nygaard, Kardin, Stadaas, Skaug Mathisen, Syrstad, Johaug and Jespersen. On the other hand, the leading group increased the speed and was reduced to three skiers, Novak, Hoel, and Persson, all working well together and keeping the chasers in check.
A couple of kilometers later, Persson and Hoel increased the pace again, and Novak could not follow, soon having a deficit of 10 seconds. Over the kilometers, the leading duo gap was consistent. With 4km to go, they had 53 seconds of advantage over the Novak’s group and 1 minute and 11 seconds over Nygaard and Skaug Mathisen. With 2km to go, Nygaard closed the gap to Team Ramudden’s chasers and stepped the pace on his way to a podium place.
In the end, Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, showed his sprinting strength and a great demonstration of power to win Ylläs-Levi, the 14th and final stage of Visma Ski Classics Season XII.
Second place, and only 0.9 seconds behind, was Johan Hoel, Team Ragde Charge, followed by Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Charge, 48.6 seconds back, in the third position.
Ylläs-Levi results can be found here.
After 14 events, Ylläs-Levi also ended all bib competitions in Visma Ski Classics Season XII.
Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, and Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Charge, secured their overall victory in the Champion competition.
The standing in the Climb bib competition saw Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team XPND Fuel, and Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Koteng Eidissen, as the winners.
In the Sprint competition, Stiang Berg, Team Kaffebryggeriet, and Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, won the green bib.
The Youth competition was decided way before the event, and Max Novak and Ida Dahl, both from Team Ramudden, sealed the deal in the race and won their respective categories.
We saw Team Ramudden as the overall winner in the Pro Team competition. Team Ramudden has been consistent all through the season and conquered a well-deserved Pro Team victory.
The Veteran bib was awarded to Anders Aukland, Team Ragde Charge.
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