Norwegian Aukland wins Sweden’s Vasaloppet

Norwegian skier Jörgen Aukland won Sweden's gruelling Vasaloppet cross-country ski race on Sunday pipping Swede Daniel Tynell into second place.

Norwegian Aukland wins Sweden's Vasaloppet

“The biggest win of my career,” Aukland said after the race.

Aukland completed the 90 kilometre course from Sälen to Mora in Dalarna in a time of 3 hours and 50 seconds.

The first woman to cross the line was Laila Kveli, also from Norway, who came in at 4 hours and 22 minutes.

The 89th Vasaloppet was 37-year-old Jörgen Aukland second win, having previously claimed the title in 2008.

He dominated the race back in 2008, but this time around he was left sweating over whether his rivals Daniel Tynell and 2012 champion Jörgen Brink would catch him on the run into Mora.

“I knew that Jörgen Brink and Daniel Tynell have a very strong sprint finish and I am not not exactly known as a sprinter. So it feels extra special to win,” he said.

Completing the medal places was Aukland’s brother Anders. Jörgen Brink crossed the line in fourth place.

The Vasaloppet is one of the highlights of the Swedish sporting calender and has grown into a massive public and television event. Last year’s race was noteable for the participation of Pippa Middleton, the sister of the Duchess of Cambridge.

The race has royal roots having been inspired by a now-mythical journey by Sweden’s future king Gustav Vasa, who was locked in fierce struggle against invading Danes in 1521.

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Vasaloppet ski race saved by last-minute snow dump

Sweden's oldest and most famous ski race, the Vasaloppet, has been rescued at the last minute by a snowstorm which coated the track and surrounding landscape just hours before the start.

Vasaloppet ski race saved by last-minute snow dump
Competitors set off into light snow and wind. Photo: Ulf Palm/TT
Racers set off from Sälen at 8am on Sunday into light wind and snow. 
“There's going to be fairly fairly heavy snowfall up until this morning,” Malva Lindborg, a meteorologist for Swedish state forecaster SMHI. Roar Inge Hansen, a meteorologist for the private forecaster Storm, predicted as much as 20cm of snow would fall over the day. 
As they arrived to compete, racers welcomed the snow, although some pointed out it would make the race more of a challenge. 
With an unusually warm winter leaving much of central and southern Sweden practically snowless, racers were fearing long into February they would end up skiing through rain, surrounded by snowless forest and fields. 
The organisers had been forced to manufacture artificial snow, drive it out and dump it on the track to make sure it could be skied. 
Colder weather over the last month had already made the track better than feared even before the snowfall on Saturday night.  
The race, which was first held in 1922, follows the path of the young nobleman Vasa Ericsson Vasa, as he fled Christian II, the then King of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. 
But while Gustav Vasa travelled from Mora to Sälen, the race follows the 90km track in the opposite direction.