Marit Bjoergen (NOR), Justyna Kowalczyk (POL), Kerttu Niskanen (FIN) (l-r)
Eirik Brandsdal (NOR), Petter Northug (NOR), Nikita Kriukov (RUS) (l-r)
Justyna Kowalczyk (POL)
Petter Northug (NOR)
Kikkan Randall (USA), Emil Jönsson (SWE)

JUSTYNA KOWALCZYK AND PETTER NORTHUG CELEBRATE FAVORITE WINS AT STOCKHOLM CASTLE

20.03.2013
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WITH THE WORLD
Cross country skiers's World Cup final started with today's classical sprint around Stockholm castle. In front of the eyes of Swedish king Justyna Kowalczyk (POL, Fischer skis and boots) and Petter Northug (NOR, Fischer) succeeded without any problems.
Justyna Kowalczyk unbeatable
Justyna Kowalczyk celebrated another victory during the first stage of World Cup final. The Pole was unbeatable in classical sprint in front of Stockholm castle. She made the basis for her success in each heat in the first uphill when she flew away from the others, in the final uphill she was the strongest as well. "It was not that hard today. But my skis were perfect already in the quarter final. I like those cold conditions, that suits me", Kowalczyk said after an icy competition with a windchill temperature of -20°C. Second went to Marit Bjoergen (NOR, Fischer skis and boots) who had a lot of luck that she was able to swerve after a fall from Anne Kyllönen (FIN, Fischer skis and boots) and Mona-Lisa Malvalehto (FIN) in the sharp turn. In the uphill the Norwegian used all her energies and secured an unthreatened second spot - clearly behind Kowalczyk. Third went to Kerttu Niskanen (FIN, Fischer skis and boots) who edged out her compatriot Anne Kyllönen in the final sprint who never gave up after her crash. Katja Visnar (SLO, Fischer skis and boots) came in fifth. The Slovenian was influenced by the crash behind her but she had not enough energies for the final uphill.

Northug clearly today's best athlete
In men's sprint Petter Northug showed his strength once more and celebrated an undefeated victory in front of Stockholm castle. The Norwegian was ostentatiously at the end of the group until the 180°-turn - even with a clear distance behind fifth spot. At the long straight he overtook his opponents mostly on the outer lane and was unbeatable in the uphill. "The races were always very slow so I looked for a good position and found it. It were all tactical races, I wanted to be in front before the last uphill that's what I worked for a lot during the last days", Northug said. The Norwegian used double poling with skating skis like all other athletes who made it to the semi finals. Northugs team mate Eirik Brandsdal (NOR, Fischer) came in second. His little brother Tomas (NOR, Fischer) made it to the final for the first time and he was on his way to his first podium but in the final uphill he had not enough energies. He finished fifth followed by Sergey Ustiugov (RUS, Fischer skis and boots). For Dario Cologna (SUI, Fischer skis and boots) today's race was not so good as hoped. After tumbling several times the Swiss did not qualify for semi final and finished 21st. He lost a lot of seconds in World Cup final against winner Petter Northug, same to 27th-placed Alexander Legkov (RUS).

Sprint C Damen, Stockholm (SWE):
1. Justyna Kowalczyk
POL 00.02.45,80
2. Marit Bjørgen
NOR 00.02.48,00
3. Kerttu Niskanen
FIN 00.02.48,90
4. Anne Kyllönen
FIN 00.02.50,80
5. Katja Visnar
SLO 00.02.55,10
6. Mona Malvalehto
FIN 00.03.11,20
Sprint C Herren, Stockholm (SWE):
1. Petter jr Northug
NOR 00.02.23,60
2. Eirik Brandsdal
NOR 00.02.24,30
3. Nikita Kriukov
RUS 00.02.24,70
4. Teodor Peterson
SWE 00.02.25,20
5. Tomas Northug
NOR 00.02.26,10
6. Sergey Ustiugov
RUS 00.02.26,20