The home favourite Chandra Crawford (CAN) and the Swedish top sprinter Emil Joensson took their first ever World Cup victory in the free technique sprint in Canmore.
The Olympic Champion from Torino 2006, Chandra Crawford finished first on her 1,1 km hometrack in Canmore ahead of Pirjo Muranen from Finland. In third place, Magda Genuin from Italy made her first podium place ever in her career. Natalia Matveeva was edged out from the podium, finishing 4th. Also in the final skied Arianna Follis (ITA, 5th place) and Virpi Kuitunen (FIN, 6th place), who now has the place for yellow bib for the overall World Cup leader.
Chandra Crawford showed a strong performance in the Canmore Nordic Centre which is situated only a few metres away from her home. She was second after the prologue but got better and better in front of her home crowed.
In the overall World Cup Virpi Kuitunen is now the new leader with 819 points ahead of Charlotte Kalla (795 points) and Arianna Follis (723 points).
The Sprint World Cup is led by Astrid Jacobsen (NOR, 298 points), who finished today 10th. In second place is the Russian Natalia Matveeva with 264 points, she is only one point ahead of Pirjo Muranen (263 points).
In the men's race, Emil Joensson claimed victory for the first time in the World Cup. The Swedish athlete finished first in the tight final ahead of the young Russian Ivan Ivanov and Matias Strandsvall from Finland. For both, Ivanov and Strandsvall it was the first ever podium place in their World Cup career. Nikolay Morilov, the Tour de Ski stage winner of Prague, was edged out from the podium in a photo finish against Strandsvall. Josef Wenzl from Germany, in his comeback after a shoulder injury on Wednesday in Canmore, made the final and finished 5th while Vassili Rotchev took the 6th place.
There is no change in the top three for the overall World Cup standing. Lukas Bauer is still in the lead of the overall World Cup with 816 points, in second place is René Sommerfeldt with 607 points. In third position is Tor Arne Hetland with 572 points.
Emil Joensson took over the lead in the sprint World Cup with 270 points. In second place follows Tor Arne Hetland (NOR, 212) and third place is Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR, 201 points).
The next World Cup competition will be on 9th/10th in February in Otepää (EST).
Chandra Crawford (CAN):
Well, it feels good to be tracing at home. It is really special to race where I took my first steps on skis. It just shows what you can do with an Olympic legacy. We really have great trails. Going through the heats you have to be careful because if you save too much you're out. My strategy was to stay relaxed. I was very focused on giving it my all in the last stretch. I'm a fan of the short flattish skate course.
My Dad was the cameraman behind the finish line. I was very lucky to cross the finish line and see him there, it is very unique in a World Cup race.
I had a little pressure on me before the race. I slept terribly last night, then I got up here and saw so many familiar faces and support. The sun came out, I got very excited and I managed to relax. Lets do this in 2010.
People are trying to out a lot of pressure on me. This is my first ever World Cup win. I have only won two world medals, my first being at the Olympics.
My fast starts are probably down to all the years I did biathlon. Having to lie down and get up quickly has given me good practice.
We started Fast and Female three years ago. There were a shortage of girls in the sport and we are trying to promote it. We are working both in the grass roots levels and high performance. I think my win her today will have helped.
It was a real shock and surprise to win. More of a relief not the today is over. It is incredible to win at home.
Pirjo Muranen (FIN):
I wasn't so relaxed skiing today, although I made it better at the end. I will have some resting time at home now.
The atmosphere was very good at the start line, and it was very nice to see so many people here. It was a very successful race for the men as well, it is really good.
I hope for this kind of result for the rest of the season, catching this kind of result.
Magda Genuin (ITA): This is my first podium in the World Cup. I was here eleven years ago for the World Championship Juniors. It was a very good track for this week. It is very, very nice.
My goal for the season, well, conformation for the sprint, and I hope to do well in the distance races as well.
Emil Joensson (SWE):
It has been wonderful here today. Everything was perfect... my skis... preparation. It was a perfect day. I really like this place. It is beautiful. You are always happy when you are here. I will now go home and prepare for the next race. My goal was to take my first World Cup victory, so it feels good to do it this season. My other goal is to be as high as I can.
My plan for the race was to take control and the lead, then to make in my race, which I did. It was perfect.
Ivan Ivanov (RUS):
I have got my first podium of my career, so it feels pretty good. I wasn't really expecting to be on the podium today because I thought that there were stronger competitors than I was, so I did pretty good. Until this point, I was going to take part in the World Juniors in Poland, so it is up to the coaches what I do next.
Matias Strandvall (FIN):
I was like Emil. It was almost a perfect day. He had a better day because he won the race. This was my first A-final ever. It was a good day and I am happy.
I was very tired on the finish line. I just tried to get my foot as far forward as possible. I have big boots, so it is easier for me. I was happy when I hear I got fourth, then my coach said that I had changed places, so I was very happy.
I was planning to go to the Junior Under 23's World Championships like Ivan, but they have been moved.
I wasn't satisfied with my Classic Sprint race here, so I will need to work on that. First of all, I will go home and recharge my batteries.
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