|Contributed by||Engadin Skimarathon|
The 13.000 starters of the 49th Engadin Skimarathon will not be very surprised about the perfect weather and conditions here in the valley between Maloja and Pontresina. Especially those skiers who are here not for the first time. It is almost tradition, that Engadin presents itself in the best cross country skiing conditions when it is time for Engadin Skimarathon. On Sunday, 12th Feb 8:30 it is show time.
Athletes from FIS Worldloppet Cup, Worldcup and World Championships
But not only the weather and the conditions are outstanding, also the starting field is one of the strongest in the Worldloppet circuit. Since the Engadin Skimarathon hosts the 7th and previous last FIS Worldloppet Cup stage 2017, we find all the stars of the cup among the favorites. The season finale couldn't be any more exciting: Only 2 points are separating the overall leader Ivan Perrillat-Boiteux from Nordic Team Haute-Savoie and his first chaser, Candide Pralong (Team Rossignol Gel Interim). Since Ivan Perrillat is a better skater than a classic skier, some say he has the better cards, but Candide Pralong, the Swiss, can count on the spectators and his home advantage.
Of course, Pralong's teammate and last year's overall winner, Toni Livers - also from Switzerland - will also fight for his first victory in 2017, just like Bastien Buttin (last stage winner) and Bastien Porrier and many others.
But not only the marathon skiing elite is going for the horns of the capricorn - the winner's trophy. They are getting strong company from two double winners and another two winners of the Engadin Skimarathon: Dario Cologna (2007, 2010), Roman Furger (2012, 2016), both Swiss and from the Russian Ilia Chernousow (2015) and the Norwegian Andres Gloersen (2014).
(Last year's winner Roman Furger)
The French Olympic medalists Jean-Marc Gaillard and Maurice Manificat are also among the top favorites. And then, there are two Northugs! Tomas and Even, the brothers of Petter Northug are going for their first victory in Engadin.
Aurelie Dabudyk chased by Gräfnings & Co
In the ladies' side, we can expect Aurelie Dabudyk at least on the podium. The French member of Nordic Team Haute-Savoie is not only the acting FIS Worldloppet Cup champion, she also has dominated the current season so far: 3 victories in 6 races so far. But the overall second Maria Gräfnings from Sweden won the Engadin Frauenlauf (women's race) earlier this week and showed that she hasn't given up in the race for the goblet. The Swiss Seraina Boner and Rahel Imoberdorf will try to use their home advantage, while the Germans Hanna Kolb and Elisabeth Schicho are going to count on their Worldcup experience.
Engadin Skimarathon LIVE
The weather forecast predicts -5 degrees at starting time and a slight headwind should turn into sunshine, 3 degrees plus and tailwind throughout the race morning. Until now, 13.000 skiers entered the race and the OC counts with 13.200 skiers in the end. This is only 300 participants less than in the record year 1998.
(The first Engadin Night race)
For everyone who is not on-site, there will be a live stream from 8:00 on. Beside the images from the elite and the popular skiers, the stream will also show the highlights of the women's race, the night race and the night sprint. It will be available on the homepage of the Engadin Skimarathon. There will be a German and an English commentary.
So stay tuned while preparing for the race or while watching it from home.
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