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Events & Results
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Riitta-Liisa Roponen Finishing Her Season At Ylläs-Levi Wearing Colors Of Team Edux

Finnish skate skiing specialist, Riitta-Liisa Roponen, will finish her season in Ylläs-Levi on April 9. 

Photo: Daniel Schoenherr/Bildbyrån

Riitta-Liisa Roponen, Team Edux, will start at Ylläs-Levi. Here she is racing at Davos World Cup.

The past weekend, Roponen competed at the Finnish Nationals in Rovaniemi, becoming 8th on the 5km skate, where she also announced the end of her international career. Roponen, 43, is a 5-time Olympian and 9-time World Championship skier with Olympic bronze from relay and seven relay championships medals, from which 3 are gold, as her highest achievements. 

After a great season last winter, Roponen skied in the World Cup at the beginning of the season 21/22, but sickness and canceled races made the later part of the season difficult, leaving her out of the Olympic team. Now she looks forward to enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery and spring weather in Finnish Lapland for the last hard effort of the season. 

ProXCskiing.com asked about Roponen’s ambitions ahead of Visma Ski Classics’ final event, Season XII, Ylläs-Levi. 

“I have already wanted to ski Ylläs-Levi earlier, and now that I got a chance, I want to experience this beautiful but demanding race,” says Roponen, emphasizing that for her, it is all about a challenge in her less strong style. She will compete for the Finnish Pro Team, Team Edux. 

“It’s a bit nerve-racking to participate in such a long classic race, but it will certainly be memorable. I’m not going into the race with winning in mind; I’m going there to challenge myself. It is such a classic long-distance, and my goal is to cross the finish line with a smile on my face,” Roponen stated for maastohiihto.com

Roponen has skied some long-distance races before, but mainly in skating. She expects that feeds and good pacing will play an essential role in the result.  

“I have not done any specific long-distance training to prepare for this, and there were still Finnish Championships before that I had to focus on. I will start with kick wax for sure.” 

There will also be several other strong skiers from Finland as Team Kaskipuu has recruited two Olympians, Jasmi Joensuu and Katri Lylynperä, for the women’s side and Ville Ahonen for the men’s race. At the same time, Team Mäenpää lines up Anne Kyllönen for women and Markus Vuorela for the men’s race. Team Edux has also recruited sprinter Lauri Vuorinen whereas Lauri Lepistö will compete for the Czech team, Slavia Pojišťovna Sport Team Z.S.

Roponen feels enthusiastic about the high level: “It is great to get so many Olympians on the start line! The level will be high, having so many of Finland’s top skiers at the season’s final race.”

For those looking for an easier challenge, Ylläs-Levi offers a shorter 55-kilometer race from Äkäslompolo to Levi, which cuts off the biggest climbs. This year, a new race format is a 55km Ylläs-Levi Duo that divides the distance between two skiers. The first skier will ski from Äkäslompolo to Pyhäjärvi and the second one from Pyhäjärvi to Levi. 

The 70km final event of Visma Ski Classics Season XII will take place in Ylläs-Levi, Finland, on April 9, with men starting at 7:35 CET and women at 7:40 CET. 

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