The Lukas Bauer´s team was very visible during Vasaloppet 2018. Katerina Smutna won third place in Vasaloppet and managed to beat her biggest rival in the Overall VISMA Ski Classics standing. Jan Srail spent almost 60 kilometers in the lead of a famous race. The best man of the Bauer Ski Team at the finish was Ilya Chernousov as 24th.
Katerina Smutna battled the 90-kilometer track in the winners positions throughout the race. She left Britta Johansson-Norgren, VISMA Ski Classics leading woman, already in the middle of the race and then she skied together with another Swedish woman, Lina Korsgren. But Lina Korsgren showed her strength and she took victory in front of Astrid Slind and Katerina Smutna. "I´ve struggled with cramps in my thighs about 30 kilometers before the finish, and I was not able to follow Lina. She was really good today and she deserved the victory, "admitted Smutna, who looked after her third position behind Astrid Slind. "I said before the start that I wanted to be on the podium, which turned out, so I'm happy. Now I'm dead now. I'm happy with my performance today but also happy that I´ve survived, "the best Czech woman smiled.
Kateřina Smutná left Norgren behind for four minutes and managed to beat her biggest rival in the fight for the overall title in VISMA Ski Classics for the second time in a row when she surpassed her last weekend in a 30km TjejVasan, when the girls compete in last 30km of Vasaloppet track. "Her loss is, of course, a surprise. Everyone expected her to win here, it had to be hard for her. I went with her during the race for a while, but my feeling was that she was not fresh as ussual, so I went in front of her. In a moment, I looked back and found she was not behind me. It was a surprise, but Vasaloppet is such a heavy and long race that you never know what can happen. That's why I'm really happy with the third place."
Jan Srail, who left the rest of the starting field right after the start, together with norwegian Thele, managed a huge lead for three hours up to six minutes in front what had to be great to see for Czech fans to see him leading the famoust skimarathon Vasaloppet. The Czech competitor from Sumava managed to win both VISMA Ski Classics sprints and 5 Vasaloppet sprints and indelibly marked himself among the heroes of the 94th year of the famous Vasaloppet. "It was not a plan, but after the start I got to the front and after the first climb we had about 100 meters with Thele, so we agreed to try it and go. I thought I'd do the best and help the team score points out of those bonuses, "said one of the heroes of the day at the finish.
Jan Srail began to lose after cca 58 kilometers, when his partner in the lead, norwegian Thele, went away in one tough climb and Jan was caught by the main field around 60.kilometer. Main field cathch the norwegian Thele also little bit later. "I already told him that I was getting really tired around 50th kilometer, so we agreed that we would try to make another bonus. Then I´ve lost him in the climb and I was not able to cath him again. But I'm very happy because I did not expect this kind of race progress and I enjoy this racing much more. So, for me, that's great! "
Lukas Bauer, Bauer Ski Team director, was also really excited by Jan Srail´s strategy and such long an sucessful leading, who particularly appreciated his courage. "Jan showed exceptional performance, today perhaps the most striking. How long he spent in the lead, how much active he was and that he has won the sprints is just bonus, he's just great! I like the fact that he was not afraid of it and went to risk it. "
Bauer was also delighted with the performance of both women, the third Katerina Smutna and eighth Roxane Lacroix. The best man of Bauer's team was Ilya Chernousov, who finished in 24th place, 45th was Alexis Jeannerod, 57th Lukas Bauer and Jan Srail, hero of the race from first 60km, finished Vasaloppet in 64th position. "Satisfaction prevails over me. Although Katka wanted to win, especially after very sucessful Tjejvasan, but the third place in this hard and long race is great! Roxane finished as eighth, that's a great premiere for her in Vasaloppe!. A little sad is Ilya, who wanted more than sixth place last year, but I think he made a good result. Vasaloppet is just cruel and also small problems or crisis can destroy whole race. Jan performed an exceptional styla and Alexis did his debut in Vasaloppet very good, the most of the race he was in the front of the main grup, just lost the positions in last kilometers. For me, it was very challenging, I had two big crises when I did not manage to refresh twice. Three kilometers till finish I had also a crash, when the skier in front of me fell down and took me down also, but with my very limited training I´m quite satisfied with this result," concludes Bauer.
Next race for Bauer Ski Team will be norwegian Birkebeinerrennet 17th of March.