Henri Roos, Justyna Maria Kowalczyk-Tekieli win Tartu Ski Marathon
Estonian skier Henri Roos won his home Tartu Ski Marathon men's main event Sunday, while Polish skier Justyna Kowalczyk-Tekieli took victory in the women's event.
For financial reasons, this year's event is not part of the elite Visma Ski Classics series, meaning far fewer top foreign competitors took part. Instead, these would have competed in the classics event in Sweden over the weekend.
A total of 3,477 competitors registered for the main events on Sunday, with 2,574 of these going in for the longer 63km event, and the remainder for the half-marathon (31km).
Roos, favorite ahead of the race, finished with a time of 3 hours 14 minutes and 53.8 seconds, and said of his arduous victory that: "The race definitely came down to who was able consume and drink the highest amount of energy during the race, in such a way as both to avoid cramps and to gain more pace over the last 15km."
His gap over the remainder of the pack didn't widen until around 10km from the finish, after which the likelihood of victory became clearer, he added.
"It certainly wasn't easy, but the team managed to ski well today," he added.
Fellow Estonians Andres Juursalu (1 minute 13.1 seconds behind the winner) and Taavi Kaiv (1 minute 52.8 seconds) were second and third, while the 52-year-old, two-time olympic legend Andrus Veerpalu finished in fourth place, a little over two-and-a-quarter minutes behind the victor.
Justyna Kowalczyk-Tekieli won the women's 63km event, with a time of 3 hours 22 minutes), with Estonian Merilin Jürisaar second, with a time of 3 hours 22 minutes and 33.1 seconds.
Speaking after the race, Kowalczyk-Tekieli said: " "Although the going was very difficult, the skis went well in these conditions. All in all, I'm very happy with the course and of course happy that I won."
Henri Roos had finished 48th this time last year, though that still placed him as the first-placed Estonian that time. Swede Emil Persson won the event.
The 2021 event went ahead but in a scaled-down version due to the Covid pandemic. A year earlier, a lack of snowfall led to the race being canceled altogether.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Anders Nõmm