2023-03-05 16:14

Emil Persson and Emilie Fleten won Vasaloppet 2023

After ten Norwegian male victories in Vasaloppet, the 99th race finally saw a Swedish win again with Emil Persson crossing the finish line just ahead of Norwegian Andreas Nygaard and Kasper Stadaas. The women's class had a Norwegian winner with Emilie Fleten taking her very first Ski Classics victory. Second place was Silje Öyre Slind and third was Ida Dahl. Start places for the 100th Vasaloppet in 2024 were released at vasaloppet.se when the first skier passed Mångsbodarna.

Conditions were good, around five degrees below freezing, when the time came to start the 99th Vasaloppet at 08:00. However, a light flurry of snow hit right before the start, and there was about half a centimetre of snow in the tracks up on the moors. But the day practically became a piece of skiing propaganda thanks to the 15,800 registered participants.

Anton Elvseth and Astrid Öyre Slind were first to the checkpoint in Mångsbodarna, meaning that they will both ski with a number bib showing 100 in the historic 100th Vasaloppet on March 3, 2024.

Men’s class
Just like in 2022, Herman Paus took home the Climb prize, reaching the highest point of the course, 528 metres above sea level after three kilometres, though he was 50 seconds slower than last year.

The fresh snow set a slow pace in comparison to the speedy start in 2022. Participants were mostly skiing between the tracks. Vebjörn Moen took home the first sprint prize in Smågan after 11 kilometres, ahead of Alfred Buskqvist who is leading the Ski Classics sprint cup.

The leading group was very large at the Mångsbodarna checkpoint after 24 kilometres and Anton Elvseth took the sprint prize.

Italian Lorenzo Busin led the group, consisting of about 60 skiers, through the Risberg checkpoint, though the skiing was still reserved.

Tord Asle Gjerdalen won the the classic Hill Prize in Evertsberg, which has been awarded since 1970. An increased speed drew the group out into a long line. The pace stayed high. In Oxberg there were 28 skiers within 10 seconds, with Oskar Kardin winning the sprint prize.

Magnar Dalen is the team leader for Team Ragde Charge and he was hoping for a ”rerun”, i.e. victory and triumph for the team. And it was Ragde’s Oskar Kardin who kept pushing after the Oxberg checkpoint. But mostly it was Lager 157 Ski Team and Team Aker Daehlie who kept a close eye and closed any gaps. The next push came from Ragde’s Johan Hoel, and things continued in this fashion.

Hökberg is the penultimate checkpoint and, like in 2022, Karstein Johaug took that sprint prize. Soon there were only fourteen skiers in the leading group. The big favourites were there, namely last year’s runner-up Emil Persson from Lager 157 Ski Team and last year’s winner Andreas Nygaard from Team Ragde Charge. But just like last year, Emil was nearly on his own while Nygaard had four of his team skiers with him. But Lager 157 Ski Team’s 16-year-old Alvar Myhlback, youngest participant ever in Vasaloppet, worked hard for his team. However, he and several others could not keep up.

Emil Persson won the last sprint prize in Eldris. He was followed by three Ragde skiers; Kasper Stadaas, Johan Hoel and Andreas Nygaard, as well as Petter Stakston from Team Aker Daehlie. Who would be the strongest in this quintet? The lone Swede Persson, who won eight of the season’s nine Ski Classics races, or one of the four Norwegians? A tactical game ensued where they skied along, keeping close watch on one another.

Emil Persson led the group and he was first to turn onto the 320-metre final stretch. Andreas Nygaard only came fourth onto the final stretch and Emil Persson managed to keep up his strong pole technique all the way to the finish line. His winning time was 3.37.43. Andreas Nygaard came second, beaten by only 0.3 second. Emil Persson thereby won the first Swedish men’s victory in Vasaloppet since 2012.

”It was about time, and so nice,” said Emil Persson in SVT’s victory interview. ”It was fun to ski today and a tough situation at the end, but I had a good day today. I felt strong and kept a good pace to deter them from attacking too much, which worked. I thought the sprint would be tight, as I was leading those last kilometres, but my turn was good… so it was grand. I glanced back and saw Andreas coming. It’s lucky they moved up the finish line.”

Emil felt in fine form all day:
”The whole race felt good, my body responded well on the first hill. I had great skis. Even though there was fresh snow, my skis were super. Some parts of the first half I was just skiing, enjoying myself. Then the pace picked up as usual at the Lundbäcksbackarna slopes and I could tell I was having a good day. I had a strong team with me today too, which lasted a while longer and made a big difference.”

The feeling when he crossed the finish line:
”Liberation. To finally get the win you’ve dreamed of!”

Last year, Andreas Nygaard was first to turn onto the final stretch and win Vasaloppet; this year he came second but was gracious in defeat, despite the disappointment:
”If anyone deserved to win, it was Emil, he’s been super strong all season,” said Andreas Nygaard. ”And he was super strong today. I’m actually very disappointed, because I felt strong towards the end. It’s not often you have that opportunity. But it was a good race and we performed well. Second place is good, though I wished for more. The last turn was a bit crowded and maybe I should have moved up more. Bad move on my part, but Emil deserved the win.”

Women’s class
Last year’s winner Astrid Öyre Slind was first up to the Climb prize at the race’s highest point after three kilometres. Already she was 22 seconds ahead of the second best lady. Astrid had about 100 men ahead of her at this point.

In Smågan, Astrid’s lead was 32 seconds. Emilie Fleten was second and there were big gaps down to Ski Classics leaders Magni Smedås and Ida Dahl.

Astrid was still first at Mångsbodarna. Favourite to win Ida Dahl was far behind at this point, just like last year; this time she was in seventh place, three minutes behind Astrid.

After placing tenth in the 30 km World Championships in Planica on Saturday, Astrid Öyre Slind had only slept two hours, and Emilie Fleten started catching up by the Risberg checkpoint. Five Norwegians were in the lead so it was already certain that it would be a Norwegian victory. Before today, Fleten had been in the top three of 16 Ski Classics races, but no win yet… Last year she finished third in Vasaloppet. She was also third in Tjejvasan 2023.

At the Hill Prize in Evertsberg, Emilie Fleten had taken the lead by over two minutes, ahead of a tired Astrid Öyre Slind. Fleten’s lead at the next checkpoint in Oxberg was three minutes, though it was now Astrid’s twin sister Silje Öyre Slind in second place.

The men’s class may have been exciting but the drama disappeared in the women’s class. Emilie Fleten skied majestically, leading the rest of the race. She finished in 4.04.08, winning by two and a half minutes. Silje Öyre Slind came second and after that was Ida Dahl who took another third place in Vasaloppet.

Emilie Fleten struggled to hold back tears of joy after finishing:
”Today was a roller coaster,” said Emilie Fleten. ”It started with me falling on the start fence and I thought it was over, but then I started to catch up to Astrid and I managed to pull ahead of her and at the end I was so tired that I thought someone would catch up. It really feels like a win for Team Ramudden and I’m so grateful to them. It makes me so happy to be at the start with the whole team and they’re with you all the way to the finish. This is big, and it’s for them.”

After 16 top three places came her first victory:
”I’ve had a very good season, but you still wonder about the first win… when will it come? When will it arrive? Having it come today is absolutely fantastic.”

Welcome back to the Vasaloppet Arena in 159 days, for Cykelvasan.

RESULTS Vasaloppet 2023, men
1 Emil Persson, (SWE), Lager 157 Ski Team, 3.37.43
2 Andreas Nygaard, (NOR) Team Ragde Charge, 3.37.43
3 Kasper Stadaas, (NOR) Team Ragde Charge, 3.37.44
4 Petter Stakston, (NOR) Team Aker Daehlie, 3.37.45
5 Johan Hoel, (NOR) Team Ragde Charge, 3.37.49
6 Joar Andreas Thele, (NOR) Team Ragde Charge, 3.37.59
7 Oskar Kardin, (SWE) Team Ragde Charge, 3.37.59
8 Alvar Myhlback, (SWE) Lager 157 Ski Team, 3.38.00
9 Max Novak, (SWE) Team Aker Daehlie, 3.38.01
10 Karstein Johaug, (NOR) Team Ragde Charge, 3.38.01

RESULTS Vasaloppet 2023, women
1 Emilie Fleten, (NOR) Team Ramudden, 4.04.08
2 Silje Öyre Slind, (NOR) Team Aker Daehlie, 4.06.41
3 Ida Dahl, (SWE) Team Engcon, 4.08.08
4 Magni Smedås, (NOR) Team Eksjöhus, 4.09.21
5 Astrid Öyre Slind, (NOR) Team Aker Daehlie, 4.11.22
6 Anikken Gjerde Alnes, (NOR) Team Ragde Charge, 4.13.28
7 Jenny Larsson, (SWE) Team Ragde Charge, 4.14.02
8 Kati Roivas, (FIN) Team Naeringsbanken Stora Enso, 4.14.05
9 Hanna Lodin, (SWE) Ski Team Göhlins, 4.18.16
10 Sandra Schützová, (CZE) Vltava Fund Ski Team, 4.18.44

Sprint Prize Winners 2023, men
Smågan 11 km: Vebjörn Moen, (NOR), 30.54
Mångsbodarna 24 km: Anton Elvseth, (NOR), 1.01.57
Risberg 35 km: Lorenzo Busin, (ITA), 1.26.39
Evertsberg 47 km (Hill Prize): Tord Asle Gjerdalen, (NOR), 2.01.27
Oxberg 62 km: Oskar Kardin, (SWE), 2.33.12
Hökberg 71 km: Karstein Johaug, (NOR), 2.54.34
Eldris 81 km: Emil Persson, (SWE), 3.17.20

Ski Classics Climb (after 3 km, 528 metres above sea level): Herman Paus (NOR), 11.55,3
Number bib 100 for the 100th Vasaloppet (first man to Mångsbodarna): Anton Elvseth.

Sprint Prize Winners 2023, women
Smågan 11 km: Astrid Öyre Slind, (NOR), 32.09
Mångsbodarna 24 km: Astrid Öyre Slind, (NOR), 1.04.38
Risberg 35 km: Astrid Öyre Slind, (NOR), 1.32.18
Evertsberg 47 km (Hill Prize): Emilie Fleten, (NOR), 2.09.52
Oxberg 62 km: Emilie Fleten, (NOR), 2.46.39
Hökberg 71 km: Emilie Fleten, (NOR), 3.12.35
Eldris 81 km: Emilie Fleten, (NOR), 3.40.14

Ski Classics Climb (after 3 km , 528 metres above sea level): Astrid Öyre Slind (NOR), 13.15,4
Number bib 100 for the 100th Vasaloppet (first woman to Mångsbodarna): Astrid Öyre Slind.

Vasaloppet winners of the past ten years, men
2014 John Kristian Dahl, Norway
2015 Petter Eliassen, Norway
2016 John Kristian Dahl, Norway
2017 John Kristian Dahl, Norway
2018 Andreas Nygaard, Norway
2019 Tore Björset Berdal, Norway
2020 Petter Eliassen, Norway
2021 Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Norway
2022 Andreas Nygaard, Norway
2023 Emil Persson, Sweden

Vasaloppet winners of the past ten years, women
2014 Laila Kveli, Norway
2015 Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland
2016 Katerina Smutná, Austria
2017 Britta Johansson Norgren, Sweden
2018 Lina Korsgren, Sweden
2019 Britta Johansson Norgren, Sweden
2020 Lina Korsgren, Sweden
2021 Lina Korsgren, Sweden
2022 Astrid Öyre Slind, Norway
2023 Emilie Fleten, Norway

Record times in the men’s and women’s class:
Women: 3.56.06, Astrid Öyre Slind, 2022
Men: 3.28.18, Tord Asle Gjerdalen, 2021

Ski Classics
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Registration open for the 100th Vasaloppet and Vasaloppet’s Winter Week 2024
All races in Vasaloppet’s Winter Week 2024 (except Vasaloppet itself) currently have an early bird discount, meaning that you can get a 20 percent lower registration fee by booking no later than Sunday, March 19 at midnight. Regular prices will apply after that, subject to availability.
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Vasaloppet upcoming events

Vasaloppet’s Summer Week 2023 – biking and running
• Friday, August 11 Ungdomscykelvasan start Oxberg, 32 km
• Friday, August 11 Cykelvasan Öppet Spår start Sälen, 94 km
• Friday, August 11 Cykelvasan 45 start Oxberg, 45 km
• Friday, August 11 Cykelvasan 30 start Oxberg, 32 km
• Saturday, August 12 Cykelvasan 90 start Sälen, 94 km
• Friday, August 18 Trailvasan 10 start Mora, 10 km
• Saturday, August 19 Ultravasan 90 start Sälen, 90 km
• Saturday, August 19 Vasastafetten running relay, ten legs, start Sälen, 90 km
• Saturday, August 19 Ultravasan 45 start Oxberg, 45 km
• Saturday, August 19 Trailvasan 30 start Oxberg, 30 km

Vasaloppet’s Winter Week 2024 – cross country skiing
• Friday, February 23 Vasaloppet 30, start Oxberg, 30 km
• Saturday, February 24 Tjejvasan, start Oxberg, 30 km
• Sunday, February 25 Öppet Spår Sunday, start Sälen, 90 km
• Sunday, February 25 Ungdomsvasan, start Eldris, 9 km, start Hökberg, 19 km
• Monday, February 26 Öppet Spår Monday 90, freestyle, start Sälen, 90 km
• Monday, February 26 Öppet Spår Monday 45, freestyle, start Evertsberg, 43 km
• Monday, February 26 Öppet Spår Monday 30, freestyle, start Oxberg, 28 km
• Tuesday, February 2: Vasaloppet 45, start Oxberg, 45 km
• Friday, March 1 Stafettvasan, ski relay, five sections, start Sälen, 90 km
• Friday, March 1 Nattvasan 30, individually or two-person teams, freestyle, start Oxberg, 30 km
• Friday, March 1 Nattvasan 45, individually or two-person teams, freestyle, start Oxberg, 45 km
• Friday, March 1 Nattvasan 90, individually or two-person teams, freestyle, start Sälen, 90 km
• Saturday, March 2 Vasaloppet 10, freestyle, start Eldris, 9 km
• Sunday, March 3 The 100th Vasaloppet, start Sälen, 90 km
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Vasaloppstrippeln, the Vasaloppet trifecta, is a challenge where participants complete three Vasaloppet races during one calendar year. Ski, bike and run 30, 45 or 90 kilometres in forefathers’ tracks.
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