The premiere of Kaiser Maximilian Lauf is done!

Eliassen wins in Seefeld after a tight battle with Kjølstad, and Seraina Boner outruns her competitors.

Petter Eliassen from Team Leaseplan Go maintains his lead in the Visma Ski Classics championship after today’s win in the Kaiser Maximilian Lauf in Seefeld, Austria. Eliassen was pushed all the way by Johan Kjølstad from Team United Bakeries, the pair battled in a sprint finish and were less than a second apart.

They were part of a group of four that broke away from the rest on the last lap of three in the 65km race.  Tord Asle Gjerdalen from Team Santander, last weekends  winner of Marcialonga, was the third man to cross the finish line and Tore Bjørserth Berdal finished fourth after being unable to keep up with the pace in the last kilometer.

Eliassen admitted that he was not overly confident before the race and wanted to keep up with the leading pack until the final steep climb where he and Kjølstad broke away. Kjølstad was really happy with his result today as Marcialonga and La Diagonela were major disappointments to him. Gjerdalen liked the course a great deal and hoped that the race will be in the Visma Ski Classics calendar next year as well so that he can come back and claim the victory.

On the women’s side, Seraina Boner from Team Exspirit showed great strength from start. The three times Visma Ski Classics winner took her first win of the season in conditions that favoured her kick wax style.  She was more than 3 minutes ahead of Katerina Smutna from Team Santander, who crossed the finish line as lady number two. Unfortunately for Team Santander, Smutna was penalised 3 minutes for allowing a coach to help her clean her skis during the race which pushed her down to third place. This meant that Team United Bakeries Astrid Øyre Slind, took the second place and her first step up on the podium this season. The current yellow bib holder, Britta Johansson Norgren, went double-poling all the way and struggled in the tough conditions and was almost eight minutes behind Boner.

Boner said she felt great right from the beginning and three laps went by in a “zone” for her. She was really pleased to be the number one today as it has been a challenging season for her so far. Smutna admitted that she had some problems with her kick wax and had to use some outside help while Slind said she did everything she could but there was no chance for her to beat Boner on a course like this.

Andreas Nygaard battled on for the green sprint bib- coming first and second in the two checkpoints. Overall he keeps and extends the lead in the Sprint bib competition. Though Nygaard’s day was marred by an accident later into the race, which made him break a ski pole.  Stian Hooelgard kept the youth bib after finishing 11th and Emilia Lindstedt keeps the pink bib after a great 5th place in todays race.