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Finland Takes Women's 4x5K Gold in a Rout

FIS Nordic World Ski Championships

Thu, Mar  1, 2007 - By US Ski Team

SAPPORO, Japan (March 1) - Finland took charge in the first leg and went on to win the women's 4x5K mixed relay Thursday with Germany taking silver and Norway bronze. The U.S. foursome finished 14th.
 
Fin Virpi Kuitunen explodes from the start, opening an immediate gap on the rest of the field (credit: Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)
 
World Cup leader Virpi Kuitunen handed 21.9-second lead to Aina Kaisa Saarinen to start the second 5K leg of classic technique skiing, and despite easing up dramatically in the final 400 meters, Finland went on to win in 54:18.6. Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle lifted Germany from fourth to silver on the final leg and Norway salvaged the bronze. Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK), Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA), Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis) and Sarah Konrad (Laramie, WY) had a time of 58:46.7. Randall said the blistering start was too much to overcome. "With Virpi Kuitunen taking the fast pace there, holy cow...that was a wicked fast pace off the start." Head Coach Pete Vordenberg agreed. "The pace at the start of the race was higher than we've seen. Kuitunen was leading before they left the stadium." The final women's cross country race is Saturday, the 30K classic technique. Multimedia: Photos from Sapporo are available at http://ussa.smugmug.com. Audio from all the action at Worlds is available at www.ussamedia.com. For complete results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?cal_suchsector=CC&event_id=22246 Kikkan Randall (fourth from front on right) battles the pack in the mass start format (credit: Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)