(Lillehammer, Norway) Sweden's Charlotte Kalla has won her first ever World Cup Skiathlon competition during today's event in Lillehammer, Norway. Kalla and Heidi Weng of Norway went away from the group with Austria's Teresa Stadlober early in the classic portion of the 15 km Skiathlon. After one lap it was down to just Kalla and Weng with a chasing group containing Stadlober, Marit Bjoergen (NOR), Jessie Diggins (USA), Ragnhild Haga (NOR), Krista Parmakoski (FIN) and Norway's Katrin Harsem. The free technique saw Haga break away from the chasing group to secure third place in the competition +43.6 seconds behind Kalla. Kalla made her move on the final long climb which Weng couldn't match for a clear victory of +19.7.
Charlotte Kalla (SWE)
I felt really good right from the start, and I had good skis. I knew that I need an easy classic, before the ski exchange to skate. Especially when I know how the uphills here are, it’s a very tough and long climb out of the stadium. It felt good, and when I was on that last climb I felt fine, but didn’t know that Heidi could not follow me.
In the the classic I felt a bit bad, I didn’t think I skied that fast. I thought that I would be able to go ahead on the classic part. Skating was really tough. I’m glad I held myself back a little, because Charlotte was really strong on the skating part, and on that last hill I knew she would go ahead. She was in an another league. She is in a very good shape.
It was a bit messy race. I was not satisfied with the first round classic, but I got a bit better after that and I was able to stay in contact with the leaders. I felt stronger when we started with freestyle, but then I broke my pole in the last hill and I thought it was over for me regarding a podium position, but then I got a new one from the one of our coaches, and he told me that it was still possible.
LADIES 15 km Skiathlon
1. KALLA Charlotte 1987 SWE 42:24.7
2. WENG Heidi 1991 NOR +19.7
3. HAGA Ragnhild 1991 NOR +43.6
4. BJOERGEN Marit 1980 NOR +54.3
5. DIGGINS Jessica 1991 USA +57.0
OVERALL WORLD CUP STANDINGS
1. KALLA Charlotte SWE 438 pts
2. WENG Heidi NOR 325
3. BJOERGEN Marit NOR 319