Ruka Preview - 10/15 km Classic Interval Start
PREVIEW Ladies' 10KM CLASSIC STYLE – Saturday 25 Nov 2017
• Marit Bjørgen (NOR) has won each of the last four 10km classic World Cup races she participated in, including last season's race in Ruka on 27 November 2016.
• Including the 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Bjørgen has now won her last five 10km classic races, since a second-place finish in Val di Fiemme (Tour de Ski) on 10 January 2015.
• Bjørgen is unbeaten in her last seven individual classic style distance races (World Cup, World Championships, Olympic Games) and has reached the podium in her last 13 appearances since a fifth-place finish in the 10km classic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.
• Bjørgen has reached the podium in 20 of her last 21 appearances in a 10km classic World Cup event, only missing out on a top-three finish in the 2011/12 World Cup Final in Falun (4th).
• Bjørgen has only reached more World Cup podium spots in the sprint freestyle (32) than in the 10km classic (31).
• Only Justyna Kowalczyk (POL, 18) has won more 10km classic World Cup events than Bjørgen (15).
• Kowalczyk is the last non-Norwegian to win a 10km classic World Cup race in Finland, as she triumphed in Lahti on 10 March 2013.
• Kowalczyk's last World Cup win in a classic style distance race came on 19 January 2014, when she won the 10km classic in Szklarska Poreba.
• Norway has won 11 of the last 12 World Cup races in the 10km classic. In this run (2014-2017), only Stina Nilsson (SWE) avoided Norwegian success as she triumphed in Val di Fiemme (Tour de Ski) on 7 January 2017.
• Nilsson could become the first athlete from Sweden with multiple World Cup wins in a classic style distance race. Nilsson currently shares the record of one win with Marie Risby (SWE), who won the 5km classic in Lahti on 2 March 1985.
• Heidi Weng (NOR) has reached the podium in five of the last six 10km World Cup events, with a seventh-place finish in Val di Fiemme (Tour de Ski) on 7 January 2017 as the only exception.
• No athlete has claimed more World Cup podium spots in the 10km classic since the start of 2015/16 than Weng (5). Bjørgen, Therese Johaug (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) all follow with three top-three finishes.
• Pärmäkoski is aiming to become the first athlete from Finland to win a 10km classic World Cup event since New Year's Day 2014, when Kerttu Niskanen (FIN) won this event in Lenzerheide (Tour de Ski).
• The last athlete from Finland to win a 10km classic World Cup race on home snow was Aino-Kaisa Saarinen (FIN) who won this event in Ruka on 29 November 2009.
PREVIEW Men's 15KM CLASSIC STYLE – Saturday 25 Nov 2017
• Iivo Niskanen (FIN) has won the last two 15km classic World Cup events held in Ruka (2014, 2016).
• The last non-Finnish athlete with a 15km classic World Cup victory in Ruka was Petter Northug (NOR) on 29 November 2009.
• Since the start of 2013/14, only Niskanen (2), Alexey Poltoranin (KAZ, 2) and Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR, 4) have won multiple 15km classic World Cup events.
• Poltoranin (5) and Sundby (5) both need one more victory to join Lukáš Bauer (CZE), Bjørn Dæhlie (NOR) and Axel Teichmann (GER) on six 15km classic World Cup victories. Only Gunde Svan (SWE) has won more (7).
• Poltoranin could become the first athlete from Kazakhstan to win a classic distance World Cup race in Finland since 8 March 1998, when Vladimir Smirnov (KAZ) won the 30km classic in Lahti.
• Poltoranin has finished on the podium in 10 of his last 16 starts in a 15km classic World Cup event.
• Sundby has won four of his last six 15km classic World Cup appearances and reached the podium in all his three starts last campaign.
• Sundby (33) could become the oldest winner of a 15km classic World Cup race since Odd-Bjørn Hjelmeset (NOR, 35) in Lahti on 11 March 2007.
• Last season, Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR) won the final 15km classic race in Quebec (World Cup Final) to become the youngest winner ever of a classic distance World Cup race (20 years and 147 days).
• Only Svan (3) and Pål-Gunnar Mikkelsplass (NOR, 2) managed to win multiple classic distance World Cup races before their 22nd birthday.