Spectacular opener of the World Cup season 2018/19
Ladies and men's podium by Nordic Focus

The FIS Cross-Country World Cup season 2018/19 was launched with sensational races on the ladies and men's sprint

Despite the lack of snow besides the race track, conditions on the 1.4 km classic course proved to remain stable during today's heat sections.

The ladies kept the pace high

Until the final heat, the ladies sprint races were dominated by last season's overall sprint World Cup winner Maiken Caspersen Falla as well as Stina Nilsson who won the classic sprint races in Ruka both previous years. Krista Pärmäkoski from Finland made it to the final heat and was cheered by the local crowd. The group started off by a fast pace and stayed close together. A strong performance by Stina Nilsson put the Swede in the lead despite that Yulia Belorukova from Russia kept close and ensured that the pressure remained high. An unfortunate happening for by Stina Nilsson let Bolorukova, Dahlqvist and Ingemarsdotter take over the positions and lead right over the finish line.

It was a good final race until the last 200 meters and then my whole world broke down. Johannes Hoøsflot Klæbo

Unique chances

Undoubtedly an unforgettable moment remains the last stretch of the men's final heat. Despite a strong competitors field with Emil Iversen, Gleb Retivykh and Sondre Turvoll Fossli, Johannes Høsflot Klæbo and Alexander Bolshunov took up the lead and challenged each other by alternating the position. On the final climb towards the stadium, Klæbo took over impressively and lead the group with a certain gap towards the finish line. Too certain as it seemed as he stopped pushing few meters before the finish line where Bolshunov took his chance, overtook the leader and ended up crossing the line 0.31 seconds before Klæbo.

Find the results here.