Nordic

Johaug dominates over 15 kilometers freestyle at will

Therese Johaug (NOR, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) skied more than 15 kilometers freestyle in her own world and was 1:05 minutes faster than Charlotte Kalla (SWE, Fischer skis and bindings), this time the biggest rival just ahead of Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR, Fischer skis, bindings and boots). Over 30 kilometers of men's freestyle, Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) took second place ahead of Andrey Melnichenko (RUS, Fischer skis, bindings and boots), who took his first podium spot.

Under light snowfall at five degrees below zero, the women's 15 kilometers took place as the first World Cup race of the season on a natural snow surface. Therese Johaug had decided on starting number 31, the first bib number in the red group of the World Cup best, to set a sign and to present a time at which the other athletes should bite their teeth. Although the course is not as difficult as in recent weeks in Ruka and Lillehammer, the lap was slightly shorter than the official five kilometers in length and Johaug had more traffic on the track than the late-start Kalla and Pärmäkoski, she began at the end of the first lap to extend her lead against her competitors and raced to the next victory. Nobody could be fit to hold a candle to her by far. "I was very tired after Lillehammer, and then I rested and I think the shape was good today. I took a lot of good energy into the race, I concentrated on the technique and I am glad that here in Beitostølen, where I like the tracks very well, I raced so well", said the dominator of the distance races. At the finish, she was unbelievable 65 seconds ahead of Charlotte Kalla, who kept up best with Johaug at the end of the race and was rewarded with second place just ahead of Ingvild Flugstad Østberg. Ebba Andersson (SWE, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) lost ten seconds to her rivals in the last three kilometers, so she missed the podium this time. Fifth went to Anastasia Sedova (RUS, Fischer skis and bindings), who started later into the season due to heart problems. Natalia Nepryaeva (RUS, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) finished seventh. Ragnhild Haga (NOR, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) was ninth, almost two minutes behind, followed by the now 40 years old Riitta-Liisa Roponen (FIN, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) and Teresa Stadlober (AUT, Fischer Ski , Bindings and boots).

=> 15km F Women Beitostølen (NOR)

Surprisingly early in the competition, slow starter Martin Johnsrud Sundby set the pace and was the fastest in the first half of the race. From kilometer 15, Sjur Røthe (NOR) set the best time after winning the freestyle race in Lillehammer. He was clearly faster than the others in the last ten kilometers and won 35 seconds ahead of Sundby. Andrey Melnichenko secured the first podium finish of his life in third, 49 seconds behind, having finished fifth last week. Russia's Denis Spitsov (RUS, Fischer skis, bindings and boots), the third of last week, was visibly bad in the middle of the race: he had to vomit while skiing. He did not lose much time, however, keeping the gap to Sjur Røthe almost constant until the finish, rewarding him with eighth place ahead of the surprisingly strong Magne Haga (NOR, Fischer skis, bindings and boots), who became ninth like his sister Ragnhild. Didrik Tønseth (NOR, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) completed the Norwegian-Russian Top10.

=> 30km F Men Beitostølen (NOR)