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Gold for Finland

Sun, Mar  1, 2009 - By FIS

Finland with Pirjo Muranen, Virpi Kuitunen, Riitta Liisa Roponen and Aino-Kaisa Saarinen  won the relay competition over 4 x 5 km at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec. They defended their title from the 2007 in Sapporo where the same athletes were competition just in a different order.

Finland finished the race in a total time of 54:24.3min, 13,0 seconds ahead of the German Team with Katrin Zeller, Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, Miriam Goessner and Claudia Nystad. The bronze medal took in the tight finish Sweden (Lina Andersson, Britta Norgren, Anna Haag and Charlotte Kalla) with 13,4 seconds behind the winning team.

It was an exiting race from the start to the finish. Several changes of the current rankings took place and it was always tight. Especially the amazing leg for Miriam Goessner, a young biathlon athlete who did the best time in her leg must be mentioned and as well the great finish round of Charlotte Kalla and Claudia Nystad.

Aino-Kaisa Saarinen could get the title of the new Cross-Country queen by winning so far three gold medals and one bronze medal. For the German ladies team it is the first medal in this World Championships while the Swedish ladies team was yesterday already successful with the second place in the Team Sprint.

The next World Championships race will take place tomorrow - the relay competition of the men. The starting time is 13.00h

Quotes:

Aino-Kaisa Saarinen (FIN):

"It is amazing - my third gold. The entire team did a great job and I was able to enjoy my round on the top of the last uphill - it is a great feeling. I can really smile with three gold medals but on Saturday is coming the last race and I can say to you I will really fight there. "

Virpi Kuitunen (FIN):

"I had a good feeling in my lap. I had good ski's and tried to push as best as I can. Our tactic worked out and we were in the lead after my lap. It is nice to have two gold medals and one race is still left :-)"

Claudia Nystad (GER):
"The medal means a lot- this result was very important for our team! I felt good during my race and saw that I came closer and closer to Marthe from Norway. Then Charlotte came from behind and attacked really hard - but I was fighting and at the finish straight I made it."  

Miriam Goessner (GER):

"To get a medal today is great. I felt really good during my entire race and was able to push hard. It is also great for me to ski with such big names like for example Kristin Steira. It is a great team here this Cross-Country ladies and I have also to say thank you to Manuela Henkel, I was skiing today with her ski's. I will not change to Cross-Country - Biathlon will be my sport."

Britta Norgren (SWE):

"I had not a good start into the World Championships but this result now is great. I started fast but got at the end tired and had tired legs. Maybe it is still from my sickness last week."I

Charlotte Kalla (SWE):

"It was amazing, I felt great and was able to push hard. I saw Claudia in front of me and also the Norwegian then I just attacked on the last uphill. We were fighting hard but at the end, Claudia was stronger. Maybe it would be better when the finish would be an uphill like in Tour de Ski. I love uphills and I like this hunting races."  

For complete results please visit www.fis-ski.com