Kalla and Klæbo celebrate victory in Ruka Triple

Charlotte Kalla (SWE, Fischer) beat Marit Bjørgen (NOR, Fischer skis and boots) in the handicap race over ten kilometers in free style at the cross-country World Cup in Kuusamo (FIN). Third was Ragnhild Haga (NOR, Fischer skis and boots). Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR, Fischer skis and boots) edged out Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR, Fischer skis and boots) in the final sprint of Ruka Triple.

Already before the start it was clear, that it would be a duel between Charlotte Kalla and Marit Bjørgen. After two stages, the Swede was two seconds ahead before the final stage, but the Norwegian took the lead during the first kilometers. It was not until the second half of the race that Kalla stepped into the lead and increased the pace at the beginning of the last lap. The Norwegian was no longer able to follow this attack. At the end of the long uphill the two favorites were separated by five seconds. Charlotte Kalla skied to victory and crossed the finish line with a smile all over her face. But her opponent did not seem dissatisfied with the second place. "I enjoyed skiing today. It was very fun to ski in Ruka. The course has long uphills and I tried to safe some energy in first three laps. In the last lap my plan was to ski hard", the happy winner said. 

Behind Kalla and Bjørgen a larger group was formed during the race after Stina Nilsson (SWE, Fischer), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Natalia Nepryaeva (RUS, Fischer skis and boots) wasn't able to stay ahead of the chasers. In the group, Ragnhild Haga was the strongest and made a lot of work in the lead. She was finally able to escape on the last climb. Teresa Stadlober (AUT, Fischer skis and boots) made an again a great race in the group and finished sixth. Stina Nilsson as well as Natalia Nepryaeva had not enough energies left to fight eith the rest of the group after having problems in the last uphill. They finished seventh and eighth and Sadie Bjornsen (USA, skis and boots) came in tenth.

=> Ruka Triple Women after 10km F Handicap

'To manage the lead' was the motto for the 21-year-old Johannes Høsflot Klæbo with a head start of 38 seconds - absolutely uncharted territory for the young Norwegian, who skied lonely in the lead with a good pace. Before the competition was clear that Klæbo is so strong that for the others only second place is possible. The second chasing group around Martin Johnsrud Sundby, who started one minute behind, was so fast that they quickly overtook the group ahead of them. Sundby attacked in the uphill after seven kilometers and escaped a few metres from the group. But at that time Johannes Høsflot Klæbo was already struggling with big problems. The Norwegian was very tired and after half of the race in the stadium only 20 seconds  ahead of the first chasers. In the first long climb after the stadium, the youngster was then completely exhausted, even turned around and was caught seconds later by Sundby and the group. The top group now consisted of eleven athletes and Klæbo managed to recover in the downhill and to keep the group. Now the tactics started after ten kilometers and the pace was slow, so that the group grew more and more over the next few kilometers.

At the beginning of the last lap, Sundby and Harvey paced up again, at the top of the ascent the Norwegian attacked and escaped slightly. Many gaps had formed in the group and in the last climb Alex Harvey (CAN) attacked first, then Sundby passed by with Klæbo on his heels and Bolshunov (RUS) was still there. In the final sprint Klæbo mobilized the last energies and outsprinted his teammate. "It was really tough, I thought before start to go my own race and after three laps I realized that they come closer and coser. I was very tired, my legs were shaking properly. I was very glad that we did reduce the pace and I could recover a bit", the exhausted winner said. Sundby could only congratulate his young colleague with a smile after this turbulent race. Alexey Chervotkin (RUS, Fischer) took fifth place, Didrik Tønseth (NOR, Fischer skis and boots) finished seventh.

=> Ruka Triple Men after 15km F Handicap

Athletes in This Article

Sadie Bjornsen


United States

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