Petra Majdic from Slovenia and Ola Vigen Hattestad won the first sprint competition of the season over 1,2 km (ladies) and 1,4 km (men) in the classical technique in Kuusamo/Ruka (FIN).
For the third time in a row, Petra Majdic claimed victory in this sprint at the beginning of the season. Today, she won with race in a time of 2.55.5 min and was 3,6 seconds ahead of Lina Andersson from Sweden. Andersson, who was sick and not in shape last season, came back to the Cross-Country podium and took the second spot in a tough fight for the second and third place against Justyna Kowalczyk (POL). On fourth place finished Alena Prochazkova (SVK) ahead of both home favourites Aino Kaisa Saarinen (FIN) and Virpi Kuitunen (FIN).
With her today's 7th victory in a World Cup race, Majdic took also the lead in the overall World Cup ranking with being eight points ahead of Aino Kaisa Saarinen and thirteen points ahead of Charlotte Kalla (SWE).
In the men's race, the Norwegians were again dominating the classical sprint race, especially the Sprint World Cup winner from last season, Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR). He won his third victory every in his career ahead of this compatriot and sprint veteran Tor Arne Hetland. The third spot took John Kristian Dahl (NOR) ahead of Kalle Lassila (FIN), Nikolay Morilov (RUS, fifth place) and Emil Joensson (SWE, sixth place).
In the overall World Cup ranking, the winner of Gällivare, Markus Hellner (SWE) and the today's winner Ola Vigen Hattestad are leading with 100 points.
Petra Majdic (SLO):
"I must admit that I heard if I win 3 times in a row the uphill will be named by me, but it was not an easy race, I must say that each heat I was more self-confident. Heat by heat I ran better and better. I can explain that in the finals the distance between me and others was big, but not in the before races. I think I have the best service for skies, they're small team but effective. I heard the secret from the ladies that they want to win the championship, but I'm just focused on all the races. I'm very satisfied with my today's race and looking forward to the season."
Lina Andersson (SWE):
"Yes, it feels amazing because I didn't have that many competitions last season, because I was sick for a couple of months, this is almost a new start for me. My big goal for this season is the World Championship of course, but I think it's the goal for all skiers. My focus during the today's race was to follow Petra near behind in all the races, but it was hard."
Justyna Kowalcyzk (POL):
"The race went well and I am quite happy with my performance today. It's good to continue from this. My main aim for this season is the World Championships, all my training and competitions are planned to prepare me for this event."
Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR):
"My tactic was to try to get to the final as easy as possible. In the final things went exactly as I wanted. I had really good skies today. Thanks to the whole team. My main goal is to be in Liberec at the World Champs. I try of course to win as many World Cup events as I can but Liberec is the most important thing for me in this season."
Tor Arne Hetland (NOR):
"I made a good quarter final. I was also lucky to reach to the final. The guy from Canada was skating, he got disqualified and so I went through. In the final race I was staying behind Ola and suddenly he was getting more speed and I only could stay behind him. Ola is one of the best sprinters and I hope that I can beat him in skating during winter. There is always some guy in our team who is in a good shape and if you lose them you have to try to beat them next time. For the Ruka up and down of next season I would prefer only to make a sprint down with the Cross-Country skies."
John Kristian Dahl (NOR):
"I felt that I was in a very good shape today. I tried to be offensive in every heat. I tried to avoid accidents during races. In the final Ola was very strong."
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