ČEZ JIZERSKÁ 50
11. 2. 2024
Just like last year, the ČEZ Jizerská 50 exceeded its historical maximum. An all-time record was broken with 9,201 competitors having set out onto the trails this year! Record last year was exceeded by more than a thousand ski enthusiasts, a number rising above the level of the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. The prestigious trail of the sold-out main race was dominated by Norwegian representatives Kasper Stadaas and Magni Smedaas.
The Bedřichov stadium was eceptionally busy on Sunday with competitors lining up in the trails since early in the morning. The women's elite wave of the ČEZ Jizerská 50 started before the men and thousands of excited non-professionals skiers followed, making this race so unique. Minister for Regional Development, Ivan Bartoš, shot the starting pistol for the first waves.
The main question among the men's world leaders was whether the current leader, Emil Persson from Sweden, could achieve an unprecedented 7th consecutive win in the Ski Classic series. The 2021 Jizerská 50 winner saw his main opponent in Adreas Nygaard from Norway, his compatriot with Czech roots Max Novak also had ambitions for the winning pedestal. But Kasper Stadaas threw a spanner in the works when he maintained his lead until the finish line and finished with a time of 2:05:50.
The men's race had a fairly according to the traditional pattern: hill after hill sorted out the leading group whose members could compete for the finish line. 14 competitors were in the lead on the most difficult climb on Kneip, including the front-runner Emil Persson and defending champion Andreas Nygaard. After not doing so great on the last year’s race, Max Novak did well too and won the second bonus prize on the trail.
Around 15 kilometers before the finish line, the Aker team duo Daehlie Hoel and Stian Hoelgaard unexpectedly broke away from the group but their rivals caught up to them at the top of Mount Olivet. Then Kasper Stadaas (Radge Charge team) bit the bullet and took the bigger favorites completely by surprise. He flew up the last gentle climb on the route and managed to keep the lead in the final descent. With this heroic performance, he achieved one of the two biggest successes in his career. Second Andreas Nygaard also put his well-prepared skis and physique into use on the downhill. Riege Amund sprinted for the bronze medal, while Max Novak finished sixth. Among the Czech representatives, Jan Šrail and Fabián Štoček took a nice 20th and 21st place.
Among the women, a question mark hung over Magni Smedaas who triumphed at the phenomenal Marcialonze, the last SkiClassics stop. Following up on her triumph from Italy, the Norwegian left no one in doubt and finished the ČEZ Jizerská 50 in first place with a time of 2:28:44. "I was a little surprised today, it was really challenging at the beginning. But after some time, I started feeling better and better and my skis went faster and faster," the new ČEZ Jizerská 50 champion laughed at the finish line. Another name with big expectations was Sweden's Ida Dahl who unsuccessfully defended the winning position from last year's ČEZ Jizerská 50.
The women had to fight with soft wet snow, fog and humidity. The main favorite Smedaas chose an atypical tactic: instead of guarding the front group with Ida Dahl or Emilia Fleten, she moved behind the group for a while and the next moment, found herself at the front of the race. In the section around Krásná Máří, Smedaas made use of her fast skis and kept close behind the sprint winner Alvar Myhlback who started 15 minutes later and met the fastest woman on the track. However, Karolina Hedenström and Slind Silje Oeyre kept in close touch and eventually finished in second and third place. The best Czech skier Sandra Schützová finished eighth.
The 56th ČEZ Jizerská 50 was particularly fun for Morte Eide Pedersen from Norway who celebrated his 100th start in the Ski Classics series in Bedřichov with the symbolic number 100 on his chest. "I am happy to be the first to reach the 100th start in the history of Ski Classics. But I was hoping for a place on the podium," he summed up his feelings at the finish line.
The legendary cross-country skier Kateřina Neumannová who won the first ever Olympic cross-country skiing gold medal for the Czech Republic in Turin 2006. The veteran celebrates her 50th birthday on Wednesday which is an event really worthy of being celebrated at the Jizerská 50! We also welcomed other interesting personalities from the world of sports, culture and healthcare. For example, cardiac surgeon Jan Pirk, doctor Tomáš Šebek, actors Jakub Kohák and Ondřej Sokol, and footballers David Lafata and Bořek Dočkal all took part in the Jizerská 50 race.
All competitors had to cope with the gloomy northern weather which is typical for the Jizera Mountains. Misty and humid with temperatures slightly above freezing, it was a real challenge for all the ski technicians. It is particularly difficult to choose the perfect wax for these conditions, and what is worse, the type of snow can even change during the race. However, the technicians coped with it excellently. Although the resulting times were noticeably slower than last year, it was yet another successful ČEZ Jizerská 50.
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