Nordic

Johaug and Klæbo win the first mini-tour of the season

Therese Johaug (NOR, Fischer ***) won the Ruka Triple in the cross-country World Cup opener in Ruka (FIN). Heidi Weng (NOR, Fischer ***) took second place. In the men's handicap race Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR, Fischer ***) outsprinted Emil Iversen (NOR, Fischer ***) on the final stretch. Iivo Niskanen (FIN, Fischer ***) finished third.

Therese Johaug left no doubt about her victory in the mini-tour from the start. The Norwegian went into the race aggressively, increasing her opening 18 second lead second by second. "The skis were excellent, the technicians did a great job. I felt very strong, I knew the others behind me would be fast, but I have a lot of power and I won the race. It's nice that we Norwegians are in a threesome on the podium", she said. Behind them, up to the middle of the racethe athletes were seperated each by a few meters. After five kilometers, a group of four had formed with Sadie Maubet Bjornsen (USA, Fischer ***), Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) and Heidi Weng and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (NOR), who started clearly behind them. Natalia Nepryaeva (RUS, Fischer ***) was completely exhausted at the beginning of the second lap. On the third lap Heidi Weng proved to be the strongest and kept up the pace in the group. After having problems before, Krista Pärmäkoski could not keep up with the high tempo, as did Sadie Maubet Bjornsen soonafter. At the last climb outside the stadium Jacobsen accelerated the pace, shortly thereafter countered Weng and crossed the line 1:11 minutes behind Johaug as happy runner-up after the two Norwegians had worked together perfectly. Sadie Maubet Bjornsen narrowly managed to finish fourth. Frida Karlsson (SWE, Fischer ***) was eighth, after she dropped back clearly in the last few kilometers. Katerina Razymova (CZE, Fischer ***) finished ninth.

=> Ruka Triple

=> Winner of the day

Johannes Høsflot Klæbo started with a 16-second lead in the 15-kilometer free-style handicap race, where he spent a long time alone in the lead. Behind him, Emil Iversen and Iivo Niskanen were not in agreement, so that only after a tempo acceleration in the fourth lap, the gap slowly melted. When Klæbo heard about it, he let the two competitors approach and first hung in the slipstream. In the last lap, he then tightened the pace so clearly from the lead in the last climb that only his team-mate was able to follow him. In the final sprint Iversen had no chance, so that Johannes Høsflot Klæbo could repeat his victory from the last Ruka Triple of 2017. Niskanen could not oppose the sprint and finished third. Hans Christer Holund (NOR, Fischer ***), the fastest of the day, finished sixth ahead of Didrik Tønseth (NOR, Fischer ***). Sergey Ustiugov (RUS, Fischer ***) finished in tenth place.

=> Ruka Triple

=> Winner of the day

* = Fischer skis

** = Fischer skis and bindings

*** = Fischer skis, bindings and boots