Marit Bjoergen romps to third gold medal in Oslo. UPDATED
Marit Bjoergen is unbeatable at these World Championships and grabbed today third gold medal out of three races.
With the time of 27:39.3 Marit Bjeorgen edged out Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland by +4.1 seconds. Defending World Champion Aino Kaisa Saarinen proved again to be excellent classic technique specialist and won bronze medal.
Justyna Kowalczyk started with the highest bib and had the advantage of complete information about what was happening in the race. The Polish ace started very strong and tried to surprise Marit Bjoergen. After 2.2 km Kowalczyk was in a clear lead by +9.6 seconds. Defending World Champion from Liberec 2009 Aino Kaisa Saarinen was third +15.5 sec behind Kowalczyk.
At the 7.0 km mark Justyna Kowalczyk still maintained the lead and was by +8.3 seconds faster than Marit Bjoergen. However, the best Polish Cross-Country skier and Tour de Ski 2011 winner could not keep up the high pace all the way to the finish In the pre-finish was the Polish star only 1.9 sec ahead of the double World Champion Marit Bjoergen. The Norwegian was hammering strong in the last 2 km of the race.
She had caught Marianna Longa of Italy earlier in the race and they came in the stadium together. Marit Bjoergen crossed the finish and the clock stopped at 27:39.3 sec. Justyna Kowalczyk was come strong from behind but was +4.1 sec too slow and claimed second silver medal at these World Championships. Finland’s Aino Kaisa Saarinen led the Finnish squad and captured bronze medal.
Bjoergen’s compatriot and bronze medalist from 15 km Pursuit Therese Johaug finished fourth +23.7 sec behind the winner. Finnish ladies’ team did very well today with Krista Lahteenamaki on 5th, Pirjo Muranen on 6th and Kerttu Niskanen on 8th place.
Marit Bjoergen NOR
I really had to work hard for the victory today. I was told I was only 2 seconds behind Kowalczyk towards the end. Then I just went for it. I'm touched. I must admit I shed a few tears. Justyna started very strong. At 7.0 km she was 8 seconds ahead but towards the end of the race she slowed down. When I was only 2 seconds behind I could not believe it was true. Marianna Longa helped me a lot when I caught her. She was pushing very hard.
Justyna Kowalczyk POL
It was a good race. Very tough. I was 8 seconds ahead of Marit Bjoergen early on, but I was so tired in the last 3 km. I had very good information from my team and also from others alongside on the course. I was focused on my skiing. I'm very pleased with winning the sliver medal.
Aino Kaisa Saarinen FIN
This was my best performance this season and I'm happy with the bronze. The crowd was so loud I couldn't even hear what my coach was saying. I had a difficult season with a shoulder injury only 6 days before Gaellivare. Our service team did excellent job today. Of course I started in the race with the aim to win but Marit and Justyna were very strong.