The fight for medals just begins

Today, on August 22, the second leg of the FIS Roller Ski World Cup started in the capital of Ugra. The opening ceremony of the competition was attended by the Deputy Governor of Ugra Yuri Yuzhakov, Director of the Department of Physical Culture and Sports of Ugra Sergey Artamonov, four-time Olympic champion in cross-country Nikolay Zimyatov, as well as three-time Olympic medalist in cross-country, Chairman of the roller skiing Committee of the Cross Country Skiing Federation of Russia Alexander Zavyalov.

Yuri Yuzhakov addressed the audience with a welcoming speech: “Hosting  the World Cup stage in Khanty-Mansiysk has already become a good tradition for our city and we appreciate our friendship with FIS. I wish the athletes quick and safe tracks, and the fans – bright and exciting races. I am sure that each athlete will show their character and achieve the highest results possible. I hope that those spectators who were previously not familiar with such an exciting sport will become its fans. ”

“Today’s weather conditions are excellent for racing. I hope, athletes will be able to show their best shape on the tracks we’ve prepared especially for roller skiing. Competitions in roller skiing are, in a way, a start for the big project that we’re planning in the future. The fact is that we applied for the Cross-country FIS World Cup in the coming years, ” – said the Director of the Department of Physical Culture and Sports of Ugra Sergey Artamonov.

The first challenge for athletes was the prologue. According to its results a handicap between the participants in the pursuit race was determined.

Traditionally, juniors and women were the first to start 7,5km race. Arina Bylinko, bronze medalist of the FIS Roller Ski World Championship 2019, showed the best result among junior women. After 2500m she managed to be 1,6 seconds faster than her closest competitor and kept increasing her advantage. Arina will start with a 9,2 handicap tomorrow.

“The track turned out to be difficult, especially on the downhills, but I am happy with how the race went,” said Arina Bylinko, the main contender for the first gold medal of the Khanty-Mansiysk World Cup stage. – Thanks to my coach Andrei Petrochkov, who prepared me well for the races. I’ll only take part in today’s and tomorrow’s starts, I like to work long distances more”.

  1. Arina Bylinko (RUS) – 15.41,5
  2. Laura Mortagna (ITA) – 15:50,7 (+9,2)
  3. Polina Bolshakova (RUS) – 16:14,5 (+33,0)

Competition in women’s race was more tough according to the results. Two experienced athletes crossed in the fight for the first place of tomorrow’s startlist – Svetlana Nikolaeva of Russia and Alena Prokhazkova of Slovakia. The participant of four Olympic Games and nine World Championships Alena Prokhazkova won the fight for the win. Nikolaeva will start 2 seconds later tomorrow.

  1. Alena Prochazkova (SVK) – 14:43,3
  2. Svetlana Nikolaeva (RUS) – 14:45,3 (+2,0)
  3. Evgenia Shapovalova (RUS) – 15:06,6 (+23,3)

Junior men and men competed on the 11.25 km distance. The sole leader of the junior race was Johan Ekberg from Sweden, who managed to overtake the closest pursuer by 28.6 seconds.

“I mean, look at this stadium – we don’t have anything close to it back home so it’s really fun to compete on such big and well-designed tracks. It was a really tough race. I didn’t feel good at any part of the track. It was a nightmare to come through it. But I am happy with my results and it’s a good place to start the weekend. I am not nervous about tomorrow’s race. There’s no pressure. I’m confident that I’ll do well”, – said Johan Ekberg.

    1. Johan Ekberg (SWE) – 20:27,1
    2. Vladislav Kutyrev (RUS) – 20:55,7 (28,6)
    3. Leonid Markov (RUS) – 21:00,4 (+33,3)

In the men’s race, the main battle was between athletes from Sweden, Italy and Russia. The first half of the race was led by the Ugra athlete Eugeniy Dementiev, but after the seventh kilometer Matteo Tanel from Italy began to gain speed, which allowed him to cover the distance 13.5 seconds faster than the Olympic champion from Ugra, who finished with the second result.

“Today’s race was a good one for me. My legs felt good, so after the first lap I realized that I could fight for the victory. Competing on the track is hard but not difficult, you have to be a good roller skier. Tomorrow’s race is not for me, because classic is not my strongest suit, I also can’t say that I am a sprinter, so I’ll make the main bet on a Sunday mass start. I’ll fight for medals, ” said Matteo Tanel after the race.

According to Eugeniy Dementiev, he didn’t like the result of the race, but tomorrow he will have the opportunity to fix it: “13 seconds in roller skiing is a lot, I expected my speed would be better today. Apparently, the excitement affected the result. I hope to compensate this in the next days. Everyone choose for themselves whether to work to the limit in the prologue, or to save strength for the pursuit race. I, for one, need to give all my strength so that my muscles are more flexible and working. I need to show the maximum to make the next race better, thanks to the supercompensation. Second place is a good place to start in the pursuit, catching up is better than running away.”

  1. Matteo Tanel (ITA) – 19:40,4
  2. Eugeniy Dementiev (RUS) – 19:53,9 (+13,5)
  3. Ivan Anisimov (RUS) – 20:07,1 (+26,7)

Tomorrow, on August 23, athletes will compete in the pursuit races at the Winter Sports Center, the first race starts at 15:00 local time.