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Andersson unstoppable in 20km mass start to win second race in three days

Jan 29, 2023·Cross-Country
Ebba Andersson won the women's 20km mass start classic: @Nordic Focus.

Sweden's Ebba Andersson blew the field away in the women's 20km mass start classic at the Coop FIS Cross-Country World Cup in Les Rousses, France, on Sunday, claiming her second victory in three days in a superior fashion.

The 25-year-old finished 22.1 seconds before runner-up Kerttu Niskanen from Finland. Astrid Oeyre Slind grabbed the third place 1:20.4 after the dominant Swede.

A third into the race, Andersson, Niskanen, Slind and Norway's Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg had broken free from the rest of the field, much thanks to strong double poling from the Finnish veteran.

After 10km, Andersson and Niskanen had got a gap down to the two Norwegians – a gap that kept on growing as the two in the front fought it out for the top spot. Andersson however was stronger in the steep uphill climbs and made a push to get away from Niskanen in the fifth of six laps. The Finnish 34-year-old did not manage to respond in the downhill sections and Andersson, who never slowed down her pace, got a comfortable margin to win her fourth World Cup race.

"It was a tough fight (with Niskanen) of course but I felt strong and just tried to push what I could today," Andersson said.

"It was a good race for me. I felt strong during the whole race and I also had good skis. It was an amazing day out there, with an audience who cheered the whole way to the finish line."

It was an amazing day out thereEbba Andersson

Andersson, who won the 10km free on Friday, has doubled her World Cup victory tally in a weekend, showing that she has the shape to fight for medals at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2023 in Planica, Slovenia, in February.

"I hope that I will try to maintain my shape and also get a little more edge," she said.

Niskanen, who got her fifth podium this season, was happy with her second-place.

”It was fun, a good race. Ebba was really strong because I was also quite good. But we had a good and hard race,” she said.

”The steep uphill wasn’t the best part for me and Ebba was really strong there.”

Slind and Oestberg stuck together until the final stretch, saving the energy for the sprint, with the rest of the field far behind them. Long-distance expert Slind, who won a 55km marathon classic in Pontresina/Zuoz, Switzerland last weekend, had more in the tank in the end and went on to claim her first World Cup podium 4.2 seconds ahead of her teammate.

Swedish sprint specialists Emma Ribom and Jonna Sundling led the pack of nine skiers chasing the fifth-place. Ribom won that race in the race as Sundling finished sixth.

Click here for full results of the women's 20km mass start.

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