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Can Johansson Norgren Win Her First Birken?

Over the years, Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, has won three of the four Grand Classics races in Visma Ski Classics: Vasaloppet, Marcialonga, and Jizerská50. Now she is ready for her first victory in the Norwegian classic Birkebeinerrennet, facing Therese Johaug in the battle for victory.

Photo: Magnus Östh/Visma Ski Classics

Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, is looking forward for tomorrow's Birkebeinerrennet.

The 54-kilometer race between Rena and Lillehammer was held last time in 2019. The previous two winters have been canceled due to the pandemic. In 2017 and 2019, Britta Johansson Norgren was second behind Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk. 

Britta lacks a victory in Birken and has the race as one of the main goals this winter, which could be her last season as a Pro Tour skier.

“It will be very tough, but it is a very honest race. The strongest one will be first,” says Johansson Norgren.

“What will be a difference from before, it is a few years since we went to the race now, we have been a few who double poled, and we have been ourselves. If some choose to classic stride this year, they will be themselves, and the larger group will double pole. It will make the race different, I think,” she continues.

What do you say about your form before the race? Is it good?

“I hope and believe so. I had a stomachache after Vasaloppet, so the feeling has not been great, but now it feels like training before the Vasaloppet. So, I do not think that stomach problem should have affected that much.”

If you were Therese Johaug, would you choose kick wax or double poling?

“If I were Therese, I would choose double poling. She has won the race with kick wax before (2015), and everyone knows that she is absolutely the best in the world skiing with kick wax. But if I were her, I would have liked the challenge to show I’m a double poler as well.”

Therese Johaug said is a 60/40 chance for double poling or kick wax in the race. It will be an exciting competition to see Johaug against Johansson Norgren, Vasaloppet winner Astrid Øyre Slind, Ida Dahl and more.

In addition to chasing the victory tomorrow, Johansson Norgren is also defending the overall lead in Visma Ski Classics. She is on her way to a sixth overall victory. She holds the yellow leader bib and has 1639 points, closely followed Ida Dahl, Team Ramudden, with 1604 points. The total standings can be found here.

In 1976 the women’s race was introduced at the Birkebeinerrennet, and so far, only one Swedish female athlete has won. It was Jenny Hansson (now Grip) who won in 2010.

A celebrated starting field is confirmed for Birkebeinerrennet

BIRKEBEINERRENNET 

  • Date: Saturday, March 19
  • Place: Rena-Lillehammer, Norway
  • Distance: 54km Classic Technique
  • Start Times: 7:45 CET Men / 8:00 CET Women

Next up in the Visma Ski Classics is Birkebeinerrennet. The 54-kilometer classic race takes place in Norway on March 19, 2022. 

You can follow the race live on SC PLAY.

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