MORA, Minn. (Feb. 9, 2019) – The battle for the men’s CXC Marathon Cup title heated up on the cold tundra around Mora Saturday. Matt Liebsch (Orono, Minn.) skated to a two-minute victory over new father Brian Gregg (Minneapolis) in the 54k Mora Vasaloppet. Felicia Geisior (Bozeman, Mont.) picked up her second straight victory with a five-minute edge over Sara Peters (Kaministiquia, Ont.).
Liebsch claimed his second win of the CXC Marathon Cup season; Gregg has three. It was the third head-to-head matchup with Gregg taking the season-opener Seeley Hills Classic then Liebsch coming back a week later to take the win over his rival in the Ski Rennet. There are two races remaining in the Cup.
Liebsch skied strategically to build a lead over Gregg to avoid finish sprint. He took the 54k skate race in two hours, 19 minutes, 47.7 seconds.
“It was a great day – it was a cold race but it felt good,” said Liebsch, who just returned from a high altitude training block in Sun Valley. “My skis were good thanks to Cory Mitchell. It was fun skiing with Brian a lot – he and Caitlin just had a baby so congrats to them. I figured Brian might be a little tired later in the race so I went hard with about 10k to go and get some separation. I didn’t want to sprint down Main Street with Brian because he’s so cagey in the last kilometer and really wanted to avoid that if I could.”
While Gregg was second, he continued to dominate the CXC Marathon Cup standings, now with a 976-668 lead over Thomas Kendrick (Minneapolis), who was fifth.
Gesior skied strong from the start, covering the marathon course in 2:30:41.8. The Wisconsin native and Northern Michigan University alum was the winner a week earlier in the 20k City of Lakes Loppet. She and Vivian Hett (Burnsville, Minn.) each have two CXC Marathon Cup wins.
“It was super fun,” said Gesior. “The course was perfect – lots of snow with a manmade base and lots of natural on top. Dealt with cold temps but everyone stayed warm. The competition was good with the women I skied with and men who kept the pace moving.”
The win put Gesior into a tie with Vivian Hett (Burnsville, Minn.) for the CXC Marathon Cup lead with 400 points – each with two wins. Erica Wagner (Duluth, Minn.) is close behind with 364 points with two races remaining.
Next week Gesior and Liebsch are racing the SuperTour in Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis.
Nearly 1,000 skiers took part in the menu of races in Mora on a chilly central Minnesota weekend.
Two races remain on the CXC Marathon Cup schedule, including the Slumberland American Birkebeiner coming up on Saturday, February 23 between Cable and Hayward in northern Wisconsin. The Cup will wrap up with the UP Health System Great Bear Chase in Calumet, Mich. on March 9.
Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019
Men’s 54k Skate
- Matt Liebsch, Orono, Minn., 2:19:47.7
- Brian Gregg, Minneapolis, 2:21:47.2
- Andrew Brown, St. Paul, Minn., 2:25:22.8
- Alex Reich, Marine on St. Croix, Minn., 2:25:26.2
- Thomas Kendrick, Minneapolis, 2:25:29.7
Women’s 54k Skate
- Felicia Gesior, Bozeman, Mont., 2:40:41.8
- Sarah Peters, Kaministiquia, Ont., 2:50:25.7
- Jan Guenther, Mound, Minn., 2:55:23.3
- Laura Cattaneo, Rochester, Minn., 2:57:21.4
- Claire Trujillo, Anchorage, 2:57:30.2
Men’s 42k Classic
- Andrew Tilman, Philadelphia, 2:08:54.6
- Erik Hoeg, Plymouth, Minn., 2:11:10.1
- Patrick Lorentz, Plymouth, Minn., 2:14:21.1
- Dick Gustafsson, Landvetter, Sweden, 2:16:54.2
- Craig Cardinal, Northfield, Minn., 2:18:15.8
Women’s 42k Classic
- Josie Nelson, Medicine Lake, Minn., 2:31:50.1
- Kerrie Berg, Bemidji, Minn., 2:35:53.5
- Rose Doda, Zumbro Falls, Minn., 2:39:56.7
- Elspeth Ronnander, St. Paul, Minn., 2:43:51.7
- Lisa Garretson, Minneapolis, 2:48:37.4
CXC MARATHON CUP STANDINGS
- Brian Gregg, Minneapois, 976
- Thomas Kendrick, Minneapolis, 668
- Matt Liebsch, Orono, Minn., 588
- Andrew Brown, St. Paul, Minn., 550
- Tyler Kobilarcsik, Chanhassen, Minn., 544
- Felicia Gesior, Bozeman, Mont., 400
- Vivian Hett, Burnsville, Minn., 400
- Erica Wagner, Duluth, Minn., 364
- Bonnie Weiskopf, Stillwater, Minn., 338
- Nicolette Reker, Minneapolis, 168