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Andersson thanks French fans for comeback victory in Les Rousses

Jan 27, 2023·Cross-Country
Delphine Claudel (left), Ebba Andersson (middle) and Jessie Diggins (right) celebrate on the podium: @Nordic Focus.

Ebba Anderson had been out of Coop FIS Cross-Country World Cup action since 4 December last year after catching Covid-19. On Friday she was back showing the same fine form as in the beginning of the season as she won the women's 10km individual start free in Les Rousses, France.

The Swedish 25-year-old was a couple of seconds behind USA star Jessie Diggins after the first of three laps, but made a push in the second round to take a 7-second lead at the 4.8km mark.

She increased her advantage in the second half of the interval start race, finishing 20.5 seconds faster the American. Claiming her 44th World Cup podium, Diggins had to settle for a third place as Delphine Claudel from France, starting last, finished in second place, 13.4 seconds after the winner.

Anderson is the first Swede to have won in the Swiss border town Les Rousses, west of the Geneva lake, where the highest peaks are just over 1,200m. Claiming her third World Cup victory, she said the home support for Claudel had inspired her to go faster as they raced together for two laps. Claudel, 26, who won her fourth World Cup podium, thanked Andersson for driving up the pace.

"It's really, really fun to be back here in the World Cup circuit," Andersson said.

"It was fun to ski with Delphine for two or three laps because the audience were cheering a lot on us when we passed by, so (it was) a really cool experience.

"It was so loud and we just tried to keep pushing when the audience just screamed."

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Anderson, who won a bronze in the event at last year's world championships, showed that she will be eyeing medals at this year's edition that starts in Planica, Slovenia, in less than a month. She said the technique had been the key to success in her comeback on Friday.

"My plan was to just focus on my skiing and then enjoy that I'm back here competing."

Finland's Kerttu Niskanen, who finished eighth, is closing the gap to Sweden's No.1 Frida Karlsson and Norway's runner-up Tiril Udnes Weng in the World Cup distance rankings, as neither of the two top skiers competed on Friday.

The three-day weekend of Cross-Country action in Les Rousses continues with sprint classic on Saturday.

Click here for full results from the women’s 10km individual start free.

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