Norwegian Ladies Dominate Today's 4x5 km Relay in Sjusjoen. UPDATED
Norwegian ladies were again quickest in today’s 4x5 km relay and won the first team competition of new World Cup season with a clear margin of +26 seconds ahead of Norway II and Finland.
Norwegian quartet with Vibeke W. Skofterud, Therese Johaug, Kristin Stoermer Steira and Marit Bjoergen laid down fooundations for their success already in the first 5 km leg. Vibeke Skofterud opened a gap in the second 2.5 km lap and brought Norway I to the exchange with +6 seconds margin. Therese Johaug increased the gap and left behind Aino Kaisa Saarinen (FIN), Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR II) and Heidi Weng (NOR III).
The World Champion in 30 km Free sent out Kristin Steira to the first free technique leg with a comfortable margin of +14 sec. Biathlete Tora Berger of Norway II took over the initiative and was setting the pace in order to chase Kristin Stoermer Steira. Tora Berger made the best time on the third leg and help to bring Norway II on the podium. Riita-Liisa Roponen kept up the pace with the Norwegian biathlete and came third to the 3rd exchange.
Marit Bjoergen had thanks to her compatriots relatively easy job and controlled the race. Marthe Kristoffersen of Norway II was trying to shake off Riikka Sarasoja-Lilja and succeeded in one of the climbs. Chartlotte Kalla was pushing hard for Sweden to close up the gap on the podium but more than 30 second margin was too much for the second fastest skier from yesterday’s 10 km Free.
Marit Bjoergen came alone in the stadium and could enjoy last meters of the relay. Marthe Kristoffersen brought team Norway II to second place having lost on the winning squad +26 seconds. Finland with Krista Lahteenmaki, Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, Riita-Liisa Roponen and Riikka Sarasoja-Lilja finished third.
Vibeke Skofterud (NOR)
"We did definitively took the relay serious and not as granted. We started the new day this morning with a new focus - the relay. It was great to ski today and I felt again very good. We are all really happy to win the relay, a relay is always something special and a lot can happened."
Astrid Jacobsen (NOR)
I'm satisfied with my part of the relay race race. It is great to ski here in front of the audience, that makes really fun.
Riitta Liisa Roponen (FIN)
It was a tough race but I felt good today and I am pleased with my race.