Exciting World Cup kick off with the winners Bjoergen and Hafsaas

20 November 2009 23:00

In the ladies race, Marit Bjoergen won clearly 29,7 seconds ahead of Charlotte Kalla from Sweden. Kalla's team mate Anna Haag took the third rank. For her it was the first World Cup podium ever in an individual competition.

The 29-year-old Bjoergen was leading the entire race, could celebrate with her today's performance her 31st World Cup victory and was back on the highest step on the podium in an individual race since two years (last individual win in November 2007 in Kuusamo).

In the men's race, the biathlete Ronny Andre Hafsaas from Norway surprised on the tough and icy 3 x 5 km course. The athlete from Lillehammer won the race just 0,2 seconds ahead of the strong French Vincent Vittoz. Matti Heikkinen from Finland took the third spot, 6,6 seconds behind the winner, and could celebrate with that his first ever World Cup podium. While on of the biggest favourites, Petter Northug just edged out of the podium on the fourth place.

Ronny Hafsaas had a very strong last lap. At the first two intermediate points, the athlete were just on place five and six but at the end, he had the toughest push and took over the overall lead in the Cross-Country World Cup.

Hafsaas, who is just 24 year's old, competed for his second time in the Cross-Country World Cup after the World Cup race in Davos in February 2007, where he finished on place 36th. For Vincent Vittoz it was the 20th World Cup podium spot ever.
Weather: sunny, 1° C
Snow Conditions: icy
Spectators: 5.000

Quotes:

Marit Bjoergen (NOR):
"It was a great day for me. I feel very happy with my victory and I was proud to sit on the leader chair! I changed my training in the summer and was not training so intensive sessions then before. I had long but relaxed trainings and I feel very well with it. My goal is for the Olympics, I will complete the medal set at home;-) For this goal, I planned so fare not to compete in the Tour de Ski

Ronny Andre Hafaas (NOR):

"I feel really great. I didn't expect a podium, a top 10 rank was in my eyes before the race. My key to the success was my last lap. There I was very strong and decided the race for me. I was excited sitting in the leader chair and following the race. Maybe I will come back to the Cross-Country World Cup but I stay with biathlon and would like to make the qualification for the Olympics."

Contributed by: Sandra Spitz (FIS)