Worldloppet double weekend – France & Japan

The weekend of 12/13 February was the first of three Worldloppet weekends with one race in Europe and one somewhere else.  This weekend was La Transjurassienne in France, held on a modified 40km course, and 50km Sapporo Ski Marathon. Organisers of La Transjurassienne managed a minor miracle to put together a 40km course in the face of some very less than ordinary snow conditions. The classic race on Saturday in France saw Stanislav Rezac (CZE) win his fourth consecutive classic ‘Transju’, with no Australians to be found in the result list.

Sunday’s main event in free technique was won by Benoit Chauvet (FRA) by one second from Fabio Santus (ITA) with Christophe Perrilat 12 seconds back in third place. Natascia leonardi Cortesi (SUI) was first lady ahead of Celia Bourgeois (FRA) and Sabina Valbusa (ITA). Santus’ second place moves him back into the lead in the FIS Marathon Cup.  Three Australians took part in the 40km free – Ronice Gowbel, Merv Trease and Malcom McKinnon.

There was a bit more Australian action over in Japan for the 50km Sapporo Ski Marathon on Sunday with Doris Trueman, Marg Hayes, Bruce Wharrie and John Cannell in the 50km and Lou Sanderson, Michael Bourke, Rick Alexander and John Miller in the 25km. Must have been a big travel week for Bruce and Marg who each skied two 42km races  a week ago in Germany.

Hiroshi Yamada was first home in 2:21:33, over eight minutes ahead of Musashi Sato with Jiri Suchy in third place. The women’s resuls saw a Japanese trifecta with Midori Furasawa taking the honours ahead of Ikumi Hattori and Kazumi Yoneda.

Next week the action is in Estonia for the 40th Tartu Maraton, and Canada for the Gatineau Loppet.

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