Norway dominates with double win in Ruka sprints
Norway take 5 of 6 available podiums in FIS World Cup opener in Ruka, Finland. The start of the season began with 1.4 km classic technique sprints and continues tomorrow with 10/15 km interval start classic competitions.
In the ladies' sprint Marit Bjoergen added to her career win total which now stands at 83 (including stage World Cup victories). Slovenia's Katja Visnar improved as the rounds progressed today and was the only one close to Bjoergen down the homestretch to take second place +0.46. Visnar was the only athlete to break up a double sweep of both podiums by Norway. In third was 2014 Olympic sprint champion from Norway Maiken Caspersen Falla +1.70 seconds back. The day's top qualifier Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg also of Norway was a contender until the final section into the finish as she struggled to kick free snow from her grip zone. The "icing" of skis today was a major factor that affected many of the top sprinters resulting in falls. It was a career best result for Ida Sargent of the USA with her 5th place finish.
Eirik Brandsdal proved too strong for everyone today as he double polled to victory for the second year in a row in Ruka. In each round no one could match the Norwegian's strength on the homestretch. In the finals he came into the final stretch side by side with teammate Petter Northug Jr. but pulled away as they drew closer to the finish. It was 1,2,3 for Norway in the men's competition with Sondre Turvoll Fossli taking third +1.18. Northug hung on for second +0.47 behind Brandsdal's winning time of 2:34.84.
- Norway took 5 of 6 available podium places in FIS World Cup opener in Ruka, Finland
- The "icing" of skis today was a major factor that affected many of the top sprinters resulting in falls.
- Marit Bjørgen won her 83rd World Cup (including stage World Cup wins)
- Marit Bjørgen has won ten sprints in classical technique in the World Cup, one more than Bente Skari (NOR) in second place on the all-time ranking.
- Bjørgen is now equal with Petra Majdic and has a total of five podium finishes in Ruka in sprint classic
- Katja Visnar has collected four 2nd place finishes on World Cup in two countries only - Finland and Russia
- 16th World Cup podium for Maiken Caspersen Falla
- The day's top qualifier Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg was a contender until the final section into the finish as she struggled to kick free snow from her grip zone.
- Personal best for Ida Sargent (USA) - 5th place
- Second win in a row for Eirik Brandsdal in Ruka, 6th World Cup win in total
- 7th podium for Petter Northug in Ruka
- First World Cup podium for Sondre Turvoll Fossli
Marit Bjoergen (NOR)
It is great to start the new season with a victory. I am really happy that I kept the young girls behind me. I am in good shape at the beginning of the season after the hard training I have done. I was training a lot in November. It has never been a problem to ski fast at the beginning of the season.
Katja Visnar (SLO)
My trainining works, and it has brought me to where I am. I have been training distance more and I am not so tired in the heats as I was before. Now when I have a good day I believe I can make it to the final. The final was fast. I had great skis and grip in the uphill. I felt strong in double polling to the finish line.
Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR)
I am happy about third place today. It is a good start to the new season.
Eirik Brandsdal (NOR)
I am in good shape. I felt from the beginning it was my day. I had also perfect skis. I struggler little bit in the quarterfinal when I did not ski up the hill as I had planned but the semifinal was much better. In the final I managed to keep calm and go for the victory. Sprint World Cup is one of my goals and it is great to start the season with the victory.
Petter Northug jr. (NOR)
It’s good to get a good start. I was only double poling in Beitostoelen. Today I was on grip wax and it is a tough course and I am happy to be on the podium. I tried to follow the other guys. On the last climb I did not have any power left. When Eirik attacked I could not react but I am happy for the second place.
Sondre Turvoll Fossli (NOR)
It was a great day. I had a good prologue. I felt strong the whole day. I was lucky in the quarterfinal to make it to the semifinal with one pole. It feels great to be on the podium. I was second in Beitostolen (national opening) and it is great to start the World Cup season with a podium.
LADIES' SPRINT FINAL
1. BJOERGEN Marit NOR 2:58.33
2. VISNAR Katja SLO +0.46
3. FALLA Maiken Caspersen NOR +1.70
4. OESTBERG Ingvild Flugstad NOR +3.02(4)
5. SARGENT Ida USA +5.95
6. MATVEEVA Natalia RUS +12.37
Complete ladies' results are available HERE.
MEN'S SPRINT FINAL
1. BRANDSDAL Eirik NOR 2:34.84
2. NORTHUG Petter jr. NOR +0.47
3. FOSSLI Sondre Turvoll NOR +1.18
4. KROGH Finn Haagen NOR +1.69
5. PETUKHOV Alexey RUS +4.54
6. USTIUGOV Sergey RUS +14.63
Complete men's results are available HERE.
WORLD CUP STANDING
Overall/Sprint World Cup standing ladies
1. BJOERGEN Marit NOR 100 pts
2. VISNAR Katja SLO 80 pts
3. FALLA Maiken Caspersen NOR 60 pts
Overall/Sprint World Cup standing men
1. BRANDSDAL Eirik NOR 100 pts
2. NORTHUG Petter jr. NOR 80 pts
3. FOSSLI Sondre Turvoll NOR 60 pts