Krista Lahteenmaki impressed and goes for gold. UPDATED
Krista Lahteenmaki from Finland dominated clearly the 10 km free technique competition at the U23 World Championships in Otepää today.
The former Junior World Champion claimed victory in a time of 26:33.3 min on the challenging 3 x 3,3 km course with exactly 1 min gap to the runner up from Russia, Mariya Guschina. Third place took the Norwegian Hilde Lauvhaug, 1.01.8min behind the winner.
Krista Lahteemaki controlled the race from the beginning. She was first after each lap and was able to increase her lead to an minute in the finish. On the first 1,1 km only Hanna Brodin (SWE) was nearly having the same speed the Latheemaki but the Swedish sprinter, who was second last weekend in the World Cup sprint, had to pay the bill on the demanding course and finished at the end on position 14. Mariya Guschina chose another tactic by starting a bit slower into the race with the 7th best intermediate time after 3,3 but increased the speed continuously with having the third best time after the second lap (6,6km) and moved up on the second position in the finish just ahead of the Norwegian Hilde Lauvhaug.
Lahteemaki, who concluded the Tour de Ski as 8th and was in a Tour stage in Oberstdorf second, took her first U23 World Champion title in her first year as a senior. For Guschina it was her greatest success in her career, the young Russian had so far one World Cup start and that was last weekend in Otepää at the 10 km in classical technique where she finished 28th. Hilde Lauvhaug won her second U23 World Championships medal after finished second last year in the Pursuit.
Weather: sunny, -18,5C
Snow Conditions: hard packed
Krista Lahteemaki (FIN)
“I am very satisfied with my competition today and happy about the victory – the feeling to be a U23 World Champion is nice. The weather was very cold, but everything else was very good. My skis were very good, the track was good – it is a demanding course here in Otepää. Now I will leave home today and concentrate on my next races.”
Mariya Guschina (RUS)
“I am very satisfied with the silver medal. I didn’t have any tactics, I just worked my best from the start to the finish. The track was hard but since I was in the camp here last summer I had the chance to get to know the track and to know what I had to do in order to be successful.”
Hilde Lauvhaug (NOR)
“Yes, it was very cold, but for me it was okay. I don’t think it affected my result, I am very satisfied with the third place.”