o Cross-country skiing

Justyna Kowalczyk has reason to be happy. © Fabian Dalpiaz

Moonlight Classic goes to Bing and Kowalczyk

Running on cross-country skis on the perfectly groomed trails of the Alpe di Siusi under the full moon and in the light of hundreds of torches: That's the South Tyrol Moonlight Classic. On Thursday evening, the renowned cross-country skiing race took place in the classic technique and the German Thomas Bing and the Polish Justyna Kowalczyk triumphed over the 30 km long distance.

The starting signal for this year's South Tyrol Moonlight Classic Seiser Alm was given in Compatsch at exactly 20 p.m. The strongest participants stayed close together in the initial phase of the race and that didn't change until kilometer 12, when the Czech Fabian Stocek was first to pass the Hotel Ritsch. In the eleven-man leading group, which were less than 20 seconds apart, there were two hot contenders for the day's victory: last year's winner Tord Asle Gjerdalen (Norway) and Trentino's Giandomenico Salvadori.

But in the end, the laurel wreath went to the German Thomas Bing, who reached the finish first after 1:14.21,2 hours and with a wafer-thin lead. The Swede Klas Nilsson took second place, just 1,6 seconds behind. Bing, who has competed in 155 World Cup races in his career, benefited from a mistake made by some top athletes, including Salvadori, who took a wrong turn at a junction.

Thomas Bing won the men's event. © Fabian_dalpiaz

“I am the beneficiary of the mistake and it is fair to say that someone else probably would have won. Nevertheless, I am happy about the victory and of course also about the fact that I was able to win the finish sprint. The trail was fast, but it was also very strenuous,” said the 33-year-old from Dermbach. Third place went to Gabriel Strid from Sweden, who lost 11,9 seconds to Bing. Gjerdalen ended up fourth. Stefan Lanzinger from Sesto from Team Futura took 16th place as the best “Azzurro”.

Kowalczyk celebrates the flawless hat trick

Unsurprisingly, there was no way around Justyna Kowalczyk for the women. The 41-year-old Pole, who, among other things, won Olympic gold twice in her active career, celebrated a start-to-finish victory (1:29.25) and her third triumph overall at the South Tyrol Moonlight Classic Seiser Alm. “When I was still active in the World Cup I often trained here on the Seiser Alm. I already knew back then that this race existed and I always told myself that I would start here myself one day. The atmosphere is incredible,” beamed Kowalczyk.

The German Laura Stichling (Ed System Silvini Team) took second place, over seven minutes behind, while the Norwegian Oda Nerdrum (Team Kaffebryggeriet/Ringkollen Skiklubb) completed the podium (+14.07 minutes). Here Marlene Jocallaz (Sci Club Valdigne Mont Blanc) from Aostan was the best Italian participant in 12th place.

The Dellagiacomas are impossible to crack

As in the previous year, Tommaso Dellagiacoma (Internorm Alpenplus Trentino) prevailed over the 15 km distance, with the stopwatch stopping after 35.07,2:5,6 minutes. He relegated his Trentino compatriots Stefano Mich (Team Futura/+16,6) - he also repeated his previous year's result - and Lorenzo Busin (Internorm Alpenplus Trentino/+XNUMX) to the places of honor. As the best South Tyrolean, Felix Pider finished the race in sixth place.

In the women's race, Tommaso's sister Carola Dellagiacoma, who also competes for the Internorm Alpenplus Trentino team, crossed the finish line first. Her time was 44.13,0:50.49,5 minutes. Behind them were two Norwegian cross-country skiers, Guri Hulbak (Ntnui Langrenn) and Louise Marken Tronrud (Team XPND Fuel). Julia Schroffenegger from ASV Gossensaß was the best South Tyrolean and came seventh in XNUMX minutes.

Organizers draw a positive conclusion

OC boss Robert Gobbo was also visibly satisfied. “Today was an international cross-country skiing festival with 16 different nations and pure advertising for this wonderful sport. Our team, which includes 140 volunteers, has once again done a great job. I would like to thank everyone for this, as well as our sponsors. Work begins tomorrow for the next edition, which will take place on February 13, 2025,” said Gobbo.

The South Tyrol Moonlight Classic Seiser Alm is not the only top-class sporting event on Europe's largest high mountain pasture this year. As in previous years, in 2024 there will also be a combined classification for all endurance athletes who, in addition to the popular cross-country skiing race in winter, also complete the Seiser Alm Half Marathon in summer. The renowned mountain run will take place on Sunday, July 7, 2024.

The results:

Men 30 km
1. Thomas Bing GER /Ed System Silvini Team 1:14.21,2
2. Klas Nilsson SWE / 1:14.22,8
3. Gabriel Strid SWE/ 1:14.33,1
4. Tord Asle Gjerdalen NOR / Team XPND Fuel 1:14.34,5
5. Juuso Makela FIN/ 1:14.35,0

Women 30 km
1. Justyna Kowalczyk POL/Team Robinson Trentino 1:29.25,5
2. Laura Stichling GER/Ed System Silvini Team 1:36.39,9
3. Oda Nerdrum NOR/Team Kaffebryggeriet – Ringkollen Skiklubb 1:43.33,1
4. Jenny Ramstedt SWE/Sauerland Ski Team 1:47.56,2
5. Anna Schmidhofer AUT/Internorm Alpenplus Trentino 1:48.59,1

Men 15 km
1. Tommaso Dellagiacoma ITA/Team Internorm Alpenplus Trentino 35.07,2
2. Stefano Mich ITA/Team Futura 35.12,8
3. Lorenzo Busin ITA/Team Internorm Alpenplus Trentino 35.23,8
4. Martin Haarstad NOR/Ntnui Langrenn 37.16,5
5. Vegard Brechenmacher GER/SV Baiersbronn 37.41,4

Women 15 km
1. Carola Dellagiacoma ITA/Team Internorm Alpenplus Trentino 44.13,0
2. Guri Hulbak NOR/ Ntnui Langrenn 45.31,6
3. Louise Marken Tronrud NOR/Team XPND Fuel 46.14,0
4. Fiona Günther GER/Team Futura White Fox 47.56,0
5. Magdalena Maierhofer AUT/SC Leogang 48.26,8

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