Tord Asle Gjerdalen and Lina Korsgren won Vasaloppet 2021
Norway then Sweden among the men, Sweden then Norway among the women. Tord Asle Gjerdalen won ahead of Anton Karlsson, taking his first Vasaloppet win at a record time – 50 years to the day after Norway's very first win in Vasaloppet. The women got a new record time too with Lina Korsgren snatching her third win with Marit Björgen in second place.
It was six degrees below zero when 73 women started Vasaloppet 2021 at 07:40, setting off from the provisional start place at Tjärnhedens IP in Sälen. For the first time ever, the women had their own start time in Vasaloppet. Most attention before the race was, of course, on Marit Björgen, making her competition comeback after three years – and competing in Vasaloppet for the first time at age 40. Could the world's best female skier ever challenge last year's winner Lina Korsgren? Would Marit's ski pole training since the summer yield results?
The speed was high from the start and the field extended quickly. Snow had drifted into the ski tracks in the early morning so skiers stayed between the tracks where they could move faster. Lina Korsgren, Marit Björgen and Emilie Fleten were at the front up towards Vasaloppet's highest point, 528 metres above the sea, 3 km in. Lina got there first, five minutes quicker than last year. She then let Marit Björgen lead the group. In the approach to Smågan, Ida Dahl had also joined up. The four of them took turns driving in the tailwind and Lina took the spurt prize in Smågan.
After 20 kilometres of skiing, the leading group had grown to include seven skiers. Lina Korsgren, who won all spurt prizes in 2020, was also first to the Mångsbodarna checkpoint after 24 kilometres. By way of their earlier start, these women got to run their own race and it was completely different from what we've seen in Vasaloppet previously. For a while there were nine ladies in the lead but towards Risberg Lina Korsgren picked up the pace and got her third spurt prize in a row with Marit Björgen on her heels.
The Hill Prize in Evertsberg after half the race went to Lina Korsgren, hotly pursued by Ida Dahl, Emilie Fleten, Thea Krokan Murud, Marit Björgen and Katerina Smutná. Two-time Vasaloppet winner Britta Johansson Norgren was behind by about a minute and a half. The elite ladies were five minutes ahead of Vibeke Skofterud's record time from 2012.
On the long slopes up to the Oxberg checkpoint, Marit Björgen pushed ahead and only Lina Korsgren could keep up. Marit took the spurt prize and the two had gained a lead of 40 seconds.
With 21 kilometres to go, the first men caught up with Marit and Lina who couldn't follow along. It turned into a duel between Norway and Sweden with Marit taking the spurt prize in Hökberg too. Soon more men caught up and the two ladies could link up with this groups. With 13 km to the finish line, Marit Björgen let Lina Korsgren get ahead and Lina arrived first to the Eldris checkpoint – 12 seconds ahead of Marit.
Lina Korsgren won Vasaloppet with a new record time of 3.52.08 – the first time Vasaloppet has been won in the women's class in under four hours – 42 seconds ahead of Marit Björgen. Third place went to Ida Dahl. Lina's win means that she's now the woman with the second most Vasaloppet wins. (Sofia Lind has four.)
Comments from Lina Korsgren:
"I've had a good day, but it was a bit tough from Evertsberg and on," says Lina Korsgren. "I could feel some small cramps now and then. But I thought 'get it together now'. It was fantastic to go all out with Marit Björgen, one of the best skiers in the world."
"It went really well and smoothly when the men caught up, we had no chance of sticking with the first four but when the larger group came there was a good place to join up. Even so, I lost my grip but I ground my way back and that was probably the deciding factor."
Comments from Marit Björgen:
"It was a bit standard at first. Then I felt very good when Lina and I got a gap and awaited the men. It was tough going for me then but Lina found a spot. I ended up alone and it was too heavy. I could feel my arms running out of juice on the last 10 km. Not so surprising but I'm very happy with second place. It was a good debut."
244 men came to the start at 08:00, the start time since 1991. Russian Ermil Vokuev, with the black-and-red chequered climb vest from Visma Ski Classics, took the lead and was first to pass the climb point. His compatriot Maxim Vylegzhanin then took the lead but the spurt prize in Smågan was handily won by Anton Persson, pursued by many.
Emil Persson, in the overall lead of Visma Ski Classics, won the Mångsbodarna spurt prize trailing 40 skiers within ten seconds behind him. The third spurt prize was also snatched by a Swede, Anton Karlsson. The ski tracks, with their drift snow, lay untouched as everyone skied between the tracks.
The Hill Prize was won by Ermil Vokuev, the first Russian man to have his name engraved on the Hill Prize Stone. He was then almost seven minutes ahead of Vasaloppet's record time from 2012.
After Evertsberg, the group sailed on at high speeds, in sunshine and with fresh winds at their back. And then came the first real breaking point with the four skiers Ermil Vokuev, Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Anton Karlsson and Vetle Thyli pushing ahead. Gjerdalen, in his trademark aviator glasses, was first across the spurt prize line in Oxberg. The larger group in pursuit was then 53 seconds behind the leading four.
Anton Karlsson was first to Hökberg and with 10 km to go, Vetle Thyli had fallen behind. Now last year's fourth place ”Mr Aviator” (Gjerdalen) pushed ahead hard. Gjerdalen pulled a long spurt of 10 km... When it came down to it, he was the strongest! On the final stretch he could be crowned with his victory wreath and reign supreme.
It was 37-year-old Tord Asle Gjerdalen's eighth Vasaloppet and he won Vasaloppet 2021 with a new record time, 3.28.18, making him the first man to win Vasaloppet in under three and a half hours! As early as 2005, Gjerdalen was eighth in Vasaloppet.
This is Norway's ninth Vasaloppet win in a row and the twelvth Norwegian Vasaloppet win in history – and it happened 50 years after Norway's first Vasaloppet win with Ole Ellefsäter on March 7, 1971.
Anton Karlsson came second in his sixth Vasaloppet, 36 seconds behind Gjerdalen. Ermil Vokuev was third.
Victor Tord Asle Gjerdalen was tired after finishing:
"I'm worn out and exhausted, it was a long and hard day, it must be said," Tord Asle Gjerdalen commented after the finish line. "I think I pushed with almost all I had the whole way. It was full speed ahead when Vokuev set off up the first slope."
What was your strategy?
"Anton is pretty quick, and so is Vokuev, so I tried a long spurt and it worked this time. It was truly wonderful".
"We can come back and set a new record next year, because the surface wasn't perfect. But we did have a great tailwind, it must be said. Next year I hope we have the exercisers with us again, that's what long distance ski races are all about, getting the masses with you. I hope this was a good advertisement for next year and that we can have a covid-free event then," Tord Asle Gjerdalen concluded.
Second place Anton Karlsson was emotional with tears of joy, 16 months to the day after his back surgery.
"To finally push to the max, with perfect skis and in perfect shape on this day, it means a lot. Gjerdalen was one level ahead today and I'm so happy; I fought with absolutely all I had and couldn't have skied a millisecond faster. I can only congratulate.
New record times for both women and men:
Women: 3.52.08 (Previously: Vibeke Skofterud 4.08.24, 2012).
Men: 3.28.18 (Previously: Jörgen Brink 3.38.41, 2012)
RESULTS Vasaloppet 2021, men
1 Tord Asle Gjerdalen, (NOR), Norway, 3.28.18
2 Anton Karlsson, (SWE), Sockertoppen IF, 3.28.54
3 Ermil Vokuev, (RUS), Russia, 3.29.19
4 Emil Persson, (SWE), Östersunds SK, 3.29.54
5 Ari Luusua, (FIN), Finland, 3.29.57
6 Johan Hoel, (NOR), Norway, 3.29.57
7 Oskar Kardin, (SWE), Sweden, 3.29.59
8 Maxim Vylegzhanin, (RUS), Russia, 3.30.01
9 Karstein Johaug, (NOR), Norway, 3.30.02
10 Morten Eide Pedersen, (NOR), Norway, 3.30.07
RESULTS Vasaloppet 2021, women
1 Lina Korsgren, (SWE), Åre Längdskidklubb, 3.52.08
2 Marit Björgen, (NOR), Norway, 3.52.50
3 Ida Dahl, (SWE), Sweden, 3.57.07
4 Thea Krokan Murud, (NOR), Norway, 3.57.24
5 Katerina Smutna, (CZE), Czech Republic, 3.58.24
6 Emilie Fleten, (NOR), Norway, 3.58.28
7 Britta Johansson Norgren, (SWE), Sollefteå Skidor IF, 4.00.12
8 Jenny Larsson, (SWE), Sweden, 4.04.07
9 Linn Sömskar, (SWE), IFK Umeå, 4.04.08
10 Sofie Elebro, (SWE), Östersunds SK, 4.05.26
Start lists, live results, results lists and statistics are available here:
Spurt prize winners 2021, men
Smågan 11 km: Anton Persson, (SWE), 26.05
Mångsbodarna 24 km: Emil Persson, (SWE), 54.46
Risberg 35 km: Anton Karlsson, (SWE), 1.18.40
Evertsberg 47 km (Hill Prize): Ermil Vokuev (RUS), 1.51.36
Oxberg 62 km: Tord Asle Gjerdalen, (NOR), 2.22.46
Hökberg 71 km: Anton Karlsson, (SWE), 2.44.14
Eldris 81 km: Ermil Vokuev (RUS), 3.07.21
Visma Ski Classics Climb (after 3 km and 528 m above sea level): Ermil Vokuev (RUS), 8.38
Spurt prize winners 2021, women
Smågan 11 km: Lina Korsgren, (SWE), 28.57
Mångsbodarna 24 km: Lina Korsgren, (SWE), 1.01.28
Risberg 35 km: Lina Korsgren, (SWE), 1.28.42
Evertsberg 47 km (Hill Prize): Lina Korsgren, (SWE), 2.05.42
Oxberg 62 km: Marit Björgen, (NOR), 2.41.00
Hökberg 71 km: Marit Björgen, (NOR), 3.04.50
Eldris 81 km: Lina Korsgren, (SWE), 3.29.19
Visma Ski Classics Climb (after 3 km and 528 m above sea level): Lina Korsgren (SWE), 10.03
Watch the SVT live broadcast after the fact.
VASALOPPET 2021 >
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SVT SPORT'S VASALOPPET PAGE >
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Vasaloppet.TV with all broadcasts from the 2021 winter:
Vasaloppet's Summer Week 2021
Vasaloppet doesn't just have a winter week. Since 2009 there's also Vasaloppet's Summer Week with its popular mountain bike and running races, such as Cykelvasan 90 and Ultravasan 90. This summer sees the premiere of the individual running races Trailvasan 30 and Trailvasan 10 in the Vasaloppet Arena. See the complete list of all races below. Registration for Vasaloppet's Summer Week 2021 is open now at vasaloppet.se.
Registration for Vasaloppet and the other Vasaloppet Winter Week races 2022
Vasaloppet celebrates 100 years in 2022. Registration opens on Sunday, March 21 at 09:00 on vasaloppet.se. You can use a wellness allowance for the registration fee.
Even more facts about Vasaloppet 2021 can be found in Vasaloppet's 140-page Facts guide (in Swedish only):
Upcoming events in the Vasaloppet Arena
Vasaloppet's Summer Week 2021
Fri 13 Aug: Cykelvasan Öppet Spår. 94 km. Start Sälen
Fri 13 Aug: Cykelvasasprinten. 1 km. Lindvallen. Start Sälen
Sat 14 Aug: Cykelvasan 90. 94 km. Start Sälen
Sun 15 Aug: Cykelvasan 30. 32 km. Start Oxberg
Sun 15 Aug: Ungdomscykelvasan. 32 km. Start Oxberg
Sun 15 Aug: Cykelvasan 45. 45 km. Start Oxberg
Fri 20 Aug: Trailvasan 10. 10 km. Start Mora
Sat 21 Aug: Trailvasan 30. 30 km. Start Oxberg
Sat 21 Aug: Ultravasan 45. 45 km. Start Oxberg
Sat 21 Aug: Ultravasan 90. 90 km. Start Sälen
Sat 21 Aug: Vasastafetten. 4.5–15 km. 90 km running relay for ten-person teams. Start Sälen
Sat 21 Aug: Vasakvartetten. 19.1–24.2 km. 90 km running relay for four-person teams. Start Sälen
Vasaloppet's Winter Week 2022 – 100th anniversary!
Fri 25 Feb: Vasaloppet 30. 30 km. Start Oxberg
Sat 26 Feb: Tjejvasan.30 km. Start Oxberg
Sun 27 Feb: Ungdomsvasan. 9/19 km Start Eldris/Hökberg
Sun 27 Feb: Öppet Spår Sunday. 90 km. Start Sälen
Mon 28 Feb: Öppet Spår Monday. 90 km. Start Sälen
Tue 1 Mar: Vasaloppet 45. 45 km. Start Oxberg
Fri 4 Mar: Stafettvasan. 9–24 km. 90 km relay for 5-person teams. Start Sälen
Fri 4 Mar: Nattvasan 90. 90 km. Two-person teams, freestyle. Start Sälen
Fri 4 Mar: Nattvasan 45. 45 km. Two-person teams, freestyle. Start Oxberg
Sat 5 Mar: Blåbärsloppet. 9 km. Start Eldris
Sun 6 Mar: Vasaloppet. 90 km. Start Sälen
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Vasaloppet is the world's biggest cross-country ski race. Vasaloppet's Winter Week with its cross-country skiing and Summer Week with mountain biking and running attract a total of almost 100,000 registered participants every year. Since the beginning in 1922 over 1.6 million participants have passed the finish line portal in Mora. Vasaloppet is a non-profit making organization owned by IFK Mora and Sälens IF. An engine for public health and sports club activities, in forefathers' tracks for future victories!
Vasaloppet är världens största långlopp på skidor. Vasaloppets vintervecka med längdskidåkning och Vasaloppets sommarvecka med mountainbikecykling och löpning lockar årligen nära 100 000 anmälda deltagare.Sedan starten 1922 har över 1,7 miljoner deltagare passerat målportalen i Mora. Vasaloppet är en ideell verksamhet som ägs av IFK Mora och Sälens IF. En motor för folkhälsa och föreningsliv, i fäders spår för framtids segrar!