Vasaloppet China kicking off Worldloppet season
Worldloppet is getting ready for the winter season 2019! Tomorrow the 17th edition of Vasaloppet China is going to take place and it is going to be the 5th year for Vasaloppet China as a Worldloppet race. Plus, for this year it also kicks off the FIS Worldloppet Cup 2019.
Totally 809 participants have signed up for 2019’s edition starting tomorrow (4th Jan) morning. The skiers – representing 32 nations – go for 50 km, 25 km or 2,5 km through the Jingyuetan Park of Changchun. This year China University Cross-Country Skiing Championships are included in the 25 km distance with 101 college students taking part.
Besides this, the Vasaloppet China is also representing the second stage of the China Tour de Ski: A mini ski tour consisting out of a skating sprint in Changbai Mountain and the Vasaloppet China 50 km race.
China Tour de Ski stage 1 sprint, Men
- Wang Qiang , CHN
- Reese Hanneman, USA
- Raul Shakirzyanov, RUS
China Tour de Ski stage 1 sprint, Women
- Marina Chernousova, RUS
- Li Xin, CHN
- Maria Gräfnings, SWE
FIS Worldloppet Cup 2019 kicking off at Vasaloppet China
But the main competition tomorrow is going to be the 1st stage of the FIS Worldloppet Cup 2019. For the first time, the long-distance skiing world cup is travelling to China to start the season.
FIS Worldloppet Cup 2019
- Opening Stage – Vasaloppet China, 50 km CT, China
- 2nd stage – Dolomitenlauf, 60 km FT, Austria
- 3rd stage – König Ludwig Lauf, 50 km CT, Germany
- 4th stage – La Transjurasienne, 68 km FT, France
- 5th stage – Tartu Maraton, 63 km CT, Estonia
- 6th stage – Finlandia Hiihto, 50 km FT, Finland
- Final stage – Ugra Skimarathon, 50 km FT, Russia
There are many strong skiers who will fight for the victory at tomorrow’s Vasaloppet China. Among the women we especially mention two skiers who keep an eye on; Maria Gräfnings from Sweden who lost the overall victory of 2018’s FIS Worldloppet Cup only by hundreds of a second in the final stage. She is definitely one of the strongest elite skiers focussing on marathon skiing.
Her strongest opponent tomorrow is probably going to be Marina Chernousova from Russia, who won the Vasaloppet China last year.
In the men’s race, there are several strong skiers going to fight for the victory. First of all to mention are the pro-team skiers from Jobstation Rossignol team. The team is lead by Bastien Poirrier (FRA), who has several podium places and also victories on his account. Among the pro-team skiers, we also find Benoit Chauvet, Adrien Mougel, Thomas Chambellant & Nicolas Berthet (all France). Their biggest challenge is going to be Petter Skinstad Soleng from Norway.
Cold but sunny weather on race day
As usual in this area of China, there is no natural snow and the whole track is done by artificial snow. Since mid of November, the snow guns are running permanently and the track team reports that the 25 km loop – means two loops for the main race of 50 km – are well prepared by the groomers. The international skiers used the day today to test their skies & get a feeling for the track.
The weather forecast for race day says -11 degrees Celsius in the early morning and increasing up to -7 degrees Celsius as the sun rises. It seems to become a very sunny and nice day for the participants and spectators. The start will be at 10 am (means 3am CET) and be live broadcasted on China national TV, CCTV.
As usual, the ski arena has a marvellous setting with a lot of incredible snow sculptures, probably one of the biggest snow sculpture park in the world.