Rare Finnish victories at FIS Scandinavia Cup in Vuokatti
Johanna Matintalo and Ristomatti Hakola won the classic distance event at FIS Scandinavia Cup in Vuokatti on Sunday. Finnish skiers have not been celebrating victories at Scandinavia Cup very often as in the past years only Iivo Niskanen (January 2017) and Matti Heikkinen (twice in 2015) and Laura Mononen (in 2013) have been winning a FIS Scandinavia Cup since 2013.
For Matintalo and Hakola it was also the first-ever podium on that level. Matintalo was 4.6 seconds faster than Anna Svendsen (NOR). Finland’s good day was completed by Katri Lylynperä’s third place.
”It was pretty good skiing, but I am a bit surprised about how high it took me in results. I started the race with podium in my mind but my feeling was not the best. I tried to start slowly enough to prevent going too fast in the beginning as it has been a bit the case this season so far. I felt I couldn’t keep the pace as well as I hoped. I am not 100 percent happy with the performance”, says Matintalo.
She was naturally pleased with a victory which also gives her a good sign towards her main goal, same distance at U23 World Championships.
Hakola won 23.8 seconds ahead of Martin Lövström Nyenget. Chris Jespersen finished third.
”Nyenget started 15 seconds in front of me, and my tactic was to catch him as fast as I can. It took 1-1,5 km to do it. Then I was struggling a bit, but recovered well (from the hard start). These are high-level races and it is always great to win. I will travel home to Kankaanpää to enjoy christmas and then to Tour de Ski where the plan is to ski four first races”, says Hakola.
FIS Scandinavia Cup continues in Piteå, Sweden, January 5th-7th.