The current World Cup leader Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) and the Norwegian Jens-Arne Svartedal took the victory in the Royal Palace Sprint on the 1 km loop around the castle in Stockholm.
Virpi Kuitunen claimed victory in the Royal Palace sprint just 0,9 seconds ahead of the last year's winner Petra Majdic (SLO). Third ranked is Natsumi Madoka from Japan, with finishing 5,8 seconds behind the winner. Aino Kaisa Saarinen (FIN) was the first athlete who edged out of the podium. Fifth place took Astrid Jacobsen (NOR), while Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle (GER) got tired during the final heat and finished sixth.
For Kuitunen, it was the third World Cup victory in this season and in total her 15th. Majdic finished for the first time in this season not first in a classical sprint. The third place for
Natsumi Madoka is the first ever podium place for a Japanese Cross-Country skier.
Virpi Kuitunen is still in the lead of the overall World Cup ranking with 1101 points. On second place is Astrid Jacobsen with 1015 points and on third place follows Charlotte Kalla, who felt in the qualification and finished in the today's race 49th, with 901 points.
In the Sprint World Cup ranking, Petra Majdic took the lead from Astrid Jacobsen. Majdic is leading 11 points ahead of Jacobsen. Virpi Kuitunen is third ranked, 46 points behind Majdic.
In the men's race Jens Arne Svartedal made his third victory in Stockholm, just 0,2 seconds ahead of this team-mate Boerre Naess. The local hero Emil Joensson took the third place in the exciting and challenging race under the eyes of the Swedish king. In the final skied also Eldar Roenning (NOR, 4th place), Cyril Miranda (FRA, 5th place) and John Kristian Dahl (NOR, 6th place).
For Jens Arne Svartedal, it seems a perfect track in Stockholm. He won already for the third time in Stockholm the Royal Palace Sprint and managed with that his first podium this year.
In the overall World Cup ranking, Lukas Bauer (CZE) is in the front with 1096 points ahead of René Sommerfeldt (GER) with 688 points and Tor Arne Hetland (NOR, 615 points). Only Tor Arne Hetland competed in the today's sprint and finished 19th.
In the Sprint World Cup, the Swedish top sprinter Emil Joensson is still leading with 380 points ahead of six Norwegians. Ola Vigen Hattestad is the closed of them with 290 points and John Kristian Dahl is on third position with 256 points.
The next World Cup race will be in Lahti, a Sprint competition on the upcoming Saturday, 1st of March 2008.
Jens Arne Svartedal (NOR): I'm very happy. I took my third victory here in Stockholm – it is an amazing location for me. I think the tracks here are made for me, especially the last few hundred meters where it goes up and than towards the finish.”
Boerre Naess (NOR): I'm also satisfied with my second place. Jens Arne was clearly stronger today and he is the right and good winner here in Stockholm. To ski was not so easy because of the tracks but the atmosphere was great.”
Emil Joensson (SWE): I'd enjoyed the competition here in Stockholm. It was my goal to be in good shape and to show the spectators a good performance. A bus full with people came from my home to cheering for me – that was fun!”
Virpi Kuitunen (FIN): I'm very satisfied with my victory. I had good skis and enjoyed the competition. It is also good for the overall World Cup, now I was able to make the gap bigger between me and my competitors Astrid Jacobsen and Charlotte Kalla. I hope that I can also show a strong performance in Lahti.
Petra Majdic (SLO): It was a tough race – I gave my best but in the last curve, I realized that I couldn't manage the victory today. Virpi was clearly stronger and had better skis. But I met for the second time the king, which is something really nice and special.Natsumi Madoka (JPN): Wow, I didn't expect to be on the podium – I can't believe it. It is a historical day for Japan – for the first time on a Cross-Country World Cup podium – and I could make that for my country. Virpi and Petra were clearly stronger in the race but I was just following them and happy to make the podium – a great moment for me!