Double victory for Norway as Martine Ek Hagen wins U23 skiathlon - UPDATED
Martine Ek Hagen led the Norwegian squad to double victory in U23 ladies 7.5 km C + 7.5 km F skiathlon at the FIS U23 World Championships in Val di Fiemme.
Hagen won in dominant fashion in 44:37.5, +22.3 ahead of compatriot Ragnhild Haga. Teresa Stadlober (AUT) broke away from Italy's Debora Agreiter to win bronze +42.1 sec back.
Right from the first kilometer in the classic leg, Hagen took the lead together with the Italian athletes Francesca Baudin, Lucia Scardoni, Debora Agreiter and Giulia Stürz. After changing the skis (7,5km C + 7,5 F) Hagen was still ahead and from that point she kept piling on the pressure ensuring herself the lead until she reached the finish, winning her second gold medal in these Championships.
The other Norwegian athlete Haga won the silver, and the battle for the bronze was strongly fought between the Austrian Stadlober and the Italian Agreiter. Only on the very last uphill before the finish did Agreiter have to surrender to the attack of Stadlober and so she had to settle for fourth place.
Martine Ek HAGEN (NOR)
I’m so glad for the gold medal, of course, it means so much for me. These competitions are much harder than what you may think, and on top of that, the rain didn’t stop falling today, making the snow wet and heavy. These weather conditions didn’t help us today and made the race even tougher. Today’s a very special day for our team, Ragnhild won the silver medal and I’m really happy for her, too.
Ragnhild HAGA (NOR) – silver
I am very happy with the silver medal. I felt quite good . When we changed to skating it was a bit harder at the beginning but then it got better. I understood I wouldn’t be able to catch up to first place even though I was hoping for the gold for more than one lap, but Martine was very strong. I dedicate this silver medal to my family. We hoped for the double victory, it turned out really well and it is great fun to be on the podium with another Norwegian.
Teresa STADLOBER (AUT)
I am really happy. My personal goal was to win a medal. In the classic technique I had some problems. We started off together as a group, I broke away and then from that point I understood I had to sustain the attack. Then Debora got ahead of me and we alternated each other’s position but then finally I got ahead. I dedicate this medal to the Austrian cross country skiing.
Interview with Ragnhild Haga (NOR)
1. Martine Ek Hagen (NOR) 44:37.5
2. Ragnhild Haga (NOR) +22.3
3. Teresa Stadlober (AUT) +42.1
4. Debora Agreiter (ITA) +55.3
5. Giulia Stuerz (ITA) +1:01.7
6. Fransecsa Baudin (ITA) +1:01.8
7. Nadezhda Shuniaeva (RUS) +1:02.0
8. Nathalie von Siebenthal (SUI) +1:09.9
9. Tanja Kauppinen (FIN) +1:14.8
10. Emelie Kristoffersen (NOR) +1:15.6