What a 'Finnish' in Ruka! - UPDATED
The home crowd in Ruka was given quite a treat with two Finns on the men's 15 km classic interval start podium. It marks the first time that a male skier from Finland has ever won in Ruka in the 19 competitions that have been held there. It was also the first FIS World Cup win for Iivo Niskanen who became the U23 World Champion last season in this same event and brought home the gold medal in the team sprint with Sami Jauhojaervi in 2014. Jauhojaervi joined Niskanen on the podium today in third place just +12.5 back from the winning time of 35:09.4. Jauhojaervi bumped Niklas Dyrhaug from the podium by just 0.1 seconds. In second place was last season's Overall World Cup champion Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway +10.3 back.
Niskanen was the 46th starter today out of 96 athletes. He sat in the leaders chair anxiously while over half the field still had to cross the finish line, a group that contained most of the World's best skiers. In the end no other athlete sat in that chair and Niskanen recorded his first ever World Cup victory.
Iivo Niskanen (FIN)
I had very good skis. Both grip and glide was perfect. It was really noisy along the course. Before the race I thought I could be in top 6. I tried to improve the summer training and I seem to have done a good job. It was pretty nice that my family could be here today with me.
Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR)
I always ski for victory but I am satisfied with the second place. I tried to maintain a bit easy pace in the first round and keep up the pace in the second and third laps. I am not flying on skis yet. Hopefully it will come. My ultimate goal is to be in my best shape in Falun.
Sami Jauhojärvi (FIN)
I heard from Norwegian split times that Niklas was in the lead. He was skiing behind me so I had to speed up in the last kilometres. I did not feel strong and fast today, but I had extremely good skis today.
MEN'S TOP 5 RESULTS
1. NISKANEN Iivo FIN 35:09.4
2. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud NOR +10.3
3. JAUHOJAERVI Sami FIN +12.5
4. DYRHAUG Niklas NOR +12.6
5. BESSMERTNYKH Alexander RUS +19.7
Complete men's results available HERE.
Overall World Cup standing
1. NISKANEN Iivo, FIN 100 pts
1. BRANDSDAL Eirik, NOR 100 pts
3. NORTHUG Petter jr., NOR 88 pts