Vibeke Skofterud, Therese Johaug, Astrid Jacobsen, Marit Bjoergen (NOR) (l-r)
Eldar Roenning, Niklas Dyrhaug, Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Petter Northug (NOR) (l-r)
Petter Northug (NOR), Maxim Vylegzhanin (RUS), Marcus Hellner (SWE) (l-r)
NORWEGIANS WIN BOTH RELAYS IN NOVE MESTO
As supposed the Norwegian ladies Vibeke Skofterud, Therese Johaug (both NOR, Fischer), Astrid Jacobsen and Marit Bjoergen (both NOR, Fischer skis and boots) dominated relay race in Nove Mesto. Second went to Finland ahead of Norway II. In men's race the Norwegians secured victory, too. The team with Niklas Dyrhaug (NOR, Fischer), Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR, Fischer skis and boots) and Petter Northug (NOR, Fischer) won ahead of Russia and Sweden.
Norway controlled the race
The top favorites from Norway controlled the race from start to finish:
At the first lap Vibeke Skofterud opened a gap to the others and only her team mates Norway II were able to follow. Soon during the second lap Norway II dropped back and Johaug skied her lonely race up to the second exchange. Jacobsen and Bjoergen controlled the race and their victory was never up in the air. During the third leg the Russians wasn't able to follow Norway II with Ragnhild Haga (NOR, Fischer) and Finland with Riitta Liisa Roponen (FIN, Fischer skis and boots) and both were fighting for the second place. In the final stretch Finland was a bit better and secured second spot.
Sweden set the pace, Northug showed pokerface
It became a similar race as in Sjusjoen in November: The pace was mostly very slow - just the Swedes Johan Olsson and Marcus Hellner (both SWE, Fischer) on second and fourth leg tried to keep the pace and the leading group became smaller for a while. During the last ten kilometres everyone was wondering about the shape of Petter Northug. Is he really in bad shape or was it just a traing session for him yesterday? It seemed to be similar today: Northug was at the end of the group nearly during the whole race and seemed to have problems. At the last kilometre moved forward in the leading group and was looking for a good position and everyone noticed that Northug showed a great pokerface. He secured victory in the final stretch ahead of the Russians in line-up with Fischer-athletes Konstantin Glavatskikh, Dmitry Japarov and Maxim Vylegzhanin (both RUS, Fischer). Team Sweden in line-up with Daniel Rickardsson (SWE, Fischer skis and boots), Johan Olsson, Anders Södergren (SWE, Fischer) and Marcus Hellner finished third followed by the pure Fischer team from Italy and Germany with Tim Tscharnke (GER, Fischer) and Hannes Dotzler (GER, Fischer).