Sprint victory in Drammen for Kuitunen and Hattestad
Virpi Kuitunen from Finland and the Norwegian Ola Vigen Hattestad claimed victory in the classical City Sprint of Drammen.
Kuitunen made a great race and was clearly controlling her race from the qualification to the A-Final. The winner of the last week's sprint in Stockholm finished ahead of Petra Majdic (SLO). Third place took the Sprint World Champion from Sapporo, Astrid Jacobsen (NOR). Aino-Kaisa Saarinen finished 4th, while Lina Andersson (SWE) skied the first time this season in the A-Final and took the fifth place. Ranked sixth is Mona-Lisa Malvahlehto (FIN).
It was the fifth victory in this season for Kuitunen and in total in her career the 17th. The three times World Cup winner in the classical Sprint this season, Petra Majdic made her fifth podium place this season while Astrid Jacobsen reached already for the ninth time the podium in this season.
Virpi Kuitunen is now leading the overall World Cup 174 points ahead of Astrid Jacobsen. Charlotta Kalla, who didn't compete today, is third, 350 points behind Kuitunen.
In the sprint World Cup ranking, Petra Majdic is in the lead with 564 points, followed by Astrid Jacobsen 490 points and Virpi Kuitunen 488 points. Only one race is left, which counts to the Sprint ranking – it is the Prologue in the World Cup Final in St. Caterina (ITA).
25-year-old Ola Vigen Hattestad is the winner of the men's sprint race in the classical technique. He claimed victory ahead of Jens-Arne Svartedal (NOR, 2nd place) and Emil Joensson (SWE, 3rd place). First who edged out from the podium was the local favourite Boerre Naess. John Kristian Dahl took the fifth place and Yuichi Onda from Japan finished sixth.
Drammen was in the men's race a Norwegian festival – 17 Norwegians were qualified for the final heats and ten Norwegians were among the top 12 athletes.
For Hattestad it was the second World Cup victory ever in his career. Jens-Arne Svartedal, the overall Sprint World Cup winner from last year and winner of the classical Sprint in Stockholm (SWE), finished for the second time on the podium in this season. The Japanese top sprinter Yuichi Onda was the first time this season in the A-Final.
Lukas Bauer is now for sure the overall World Cup winner. His strongest competitor, René Sommerfeldt (GER) didn't compete in the today's sprint and Bauer is now uncatchable in the lead with 1196 points, 428 points ahead of René Sommerfeldt. Tor Arne Hetland is ranked third with 656 points
Hattestad leads now the Sprint World Cup ranking, just 2 points ahead of Joensson, which let us expected an exciting World Cup Final competition in St. Caterina, where the Prologue counts to the Sprint World Cup. On the third place is John Kristian Dahl 129 points behind Hattestad.
The next Cross-Country World Cup competitions will be on Saturday, 8th of March in Oslo. The annual Holmenkollen races over 30 km (ladies) and 50 km (men) will be this year in the free technique.
Virpi Kuitunen (FIN): It was a amazing race today, I have very good skies and I felt strong. I like Drammen, I was always under the top three there. I will now go to Oslo and decide in the upcoming day's if I will start at the 30 km race there on Saturday.
Petra Majdic (SLO): It was tough, I had a not very good qualification round but I felt better and better during the race. Maybe next year we could have a heat more and than I will win (smile). It is amazing to ski in front of this crowd – the spectators pushing us over the course – I love this city sprint.
Astrid Jacobsen (NOR): I feel tired to the end of the season but I'm very happy to be third. It is nice to ski here in front of the home crowd. I will go on the start in Oslo and hope to ski well there.
Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR): I'm very happy about my second World Cup victory. It was a tough fight against my strong colleagues and Emil (Joensson). I'm now two points ahead of Joensson in the Sprint World Cup and it would be nice to be on the top also after Bormio but it will be a hard fight.
Jens-Arne Svartedal (NOR): It is great to be on the podium again, especially here in Drammen. Drammen is one of the best organized Sprint World Cup's and I hope they will be again on the calendar next year.
Emil Joensson (SWE): It is always a tough fight against the Norwegians in the A-Final – there are mostly a lot of them. Today, it was great to ski here and I'm satisfied with my third place. Ola-Vigen was today better and he is now in the lead of the Sprint World Cup. I hope I can beat him in Bormio, but it will be really tough.For complete results please visit www.fis-ski.com