French skiers dominated the 44th Tartu Maraton
Photo: Kaimo Puniste
Tartu Maraton's elite group's race winnings in the distance of 34 kilometers went both to France. Estonia's best were Tatjana Mannima, who gained second place among women, and Kein Einaste, who finished in 11th place among men.
As in the yesterday's races, today's elite group's participants skied on the course of 6 kilometers. Women started at 8.50am, 10 minutes before the men. The Worldloppet Cup leader, Aurelie Dabudyk from France and Estonia's biggest hope in Tartu Maraton, Tatjana Mannima, went ahead of other women already on the half way. They skied together till the last lap, but then Dabudyk speeded up. Mannima lost to Dabudyk with 1.02, Swede Maria Graefnings, who finished third, lost with 1.39.
"I didn’t have any strategy before the race, I just tried to stay with Tatjana during the race. The last lap it was very difficult for me and Tatjana, but fortunately I was stronger," said Dabudyk. The second place owner Mannima was happy with today's race. "I would have liked to win at home, but I'm happy with the second place, because Aurelie was strong today. But it is very good, that the race took place and I am very thankful to all those people who enthused skiers along the course!" she said.
In men's competition, all three podium places were occupied by Frenchmen. The winner of the competition was Bastien Buttin, who defeated Benoit Chauvet and Bastien Poirrier. Pre-start favorites Toni Livers and his compatriot Candide Pralong, who was the Worldloppet Cup leader before today, finished in fourth and sixth. "It feels really good! It was a nice competition, although the strong wind made skiing quite difficult," said the winner Buttin. As best Estonian, Kein Einaste managed to gain the 11th place with the loss of 1.02 to Buttin. "I felt really good today. Some kilometers before the finish I fell behind of Frenchmen and then I just fought to reach the finish line," said Einaste.
Six of the eight stages of the Worldloppet Cup are now completed and Dabudyk continues as the leader of the women, Tatjana Mannima is now at the third place in the overall standings. Among men, Ivan Perrilat-Boiteux from France, who finished fifth today, gained the leader-position instead of Pralong.
A total of 1550 skiers participated in today's races of 44th Tartu Maraton, 1326 of them raced the longer distance of 34 kilometers and 224 skied 16 kilometers. The total number of this year's Tartu Maraton's main events' participants is 2875.