Norwegian double at Kuusamo's classic sprint
Norway celebrates double victory with Marit Bjoergen and John Kristian Dahl who won the first stage of Ruka Triple, a sprint in classical technique.
Marit Bjoergen is in top shape in sprints and won in wire-to-wire style domination from qualification, all the way to the finals. Slovenian sprint and classic specialist Petra Majdic was the only one being close enough to fight for victory in the finish, but came second after a tight final. Astrid Jacobsen celebrates her first podium place since Bormio 2008 by taking the third spot.
Current World Cup leader Bjoergen, who captured the first position in sprint in Kuusamo for the first time, is leading after her clear victory today. Overall she was 8,8 seconds ahead of Petra Majdic and 18,6 seconds ahead of her team mate Astrid Jacobsen of the multi-stage event Ruka Triple.
In the overall World Cup, Bjoergen increased her lead to 150 points, 30 points ahead of Charlotte Kalla who finished fourth today.
Dahl carries on Norwegian domination in Kuusamo
On the men's side it was John Kristian Dahl who won the exciting sprint over 1.4 km classic. He prolonged the series of Norwegian victories in Kuusamo's sprint to 5th in the row of 5 which have been carried out yet. Alexey Poltoranin of Kazakhstan finished surprisingly second and Finnish Sami Jauhojaervi showed his sprint skills and claimed third spot.
Local hero Sami Jauhojaervi was close to lead Ruka Triple with the second best qualification time but John Kristian Dahl took it and is now leading 3,7 seconds ahead of Jahuojaervi. Alexey Poltaranin is third with 4,2 seconds. Tomorrow, the multi-stage event will continue with a individual 5 km classic race for ladies and 10 km classic race for men.
Marit Bjoergen (NOR)
“It was a good race, I haven’t done too well in sprint earlier, as the climb hasn’t been my strength. Today my technique worked and I could go faster. My skies, body and the technique all worked perfect today. I’ve been in good shape for the last two weekends which of course helps, and I’m very happy with the start.
It’s a good course, but it all depends on my technique in the climb. Today things were perfect, which allowed me to go fast”.
Petra Majdic (SLO)
I’m very happy about today, as it was really hard conditions and a hard race for me. I didn’t expect to be this close to Marit, but it’s a good sign for me, as I’m in good shape which is good news for the season. I’m not sure what to do about these Scandinavians though.
I hope my shape will get stronger and stronger for each race, and hopefully reach my peak in the middle of December. As the Norwegians always are strong in the beginning of the season, it’s hard to beat them, and I therefore have more or less a handicap tomorrow. I hope Norwegians will be less strong in December in order for me to win some races.
Astrid Jacobsen (NOR)
I must be the happiest person in this room today. Considering last year with my injuries, I couldn’t have asked for a better start. It’s really good to be back and have a good start of the season. The big goal is of course my home arena in March. Actually qualifying for the quarter finals was my goal today. During the day things simply went better and better. I think Marit will be very strong tomorrow, but I also think those who had a less good day today will perform better and become bigger threats.
John Kristian Dahl (NOR)
“It was very cold during the heats, but during the day it got better and better, and I think I had my fastest time in the final. It was definitively a good race. I’m looking forward for tomorrow as long as the temperature doesn’t drop more. I’ll do my best, although sprint is my strength.”
Alexey Poltaranin (KAZ)
“I was in Kuusamo last year with my team, but I didn’t qualify for the finals. Today it was very much fun but cold! The conditions were good today, and I felt better for each heat, so I’m very happy about my race.
I will do my best to show the same kind of result tomorrow, but I know it will be hard.”
Sami Jauhojaervi (FIN)
“I’m quite happy but quite surprised about my race today and the podium spot, I didn’t see this coming. I had to give all in the qualification already, normally I don´t belong to the fastest athletes and start slow. I had to push hard today. In the finals my tactic was to have a good enough position in the turning point and come as fast as I can in the final climb.”