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Exciting and challenging last World Cup period

Fri, Mar  6, 2009 - By FIS

The last period of the World Cup will be really exciting. On the men's side, there are still 875 World Cup points to be awarded if somebody would win everything from now on (3 x 100 points, 175 points at the 50 km race in Trondheim and 400 points at the World Cup Final). Due to this, the overall World Cup victory is still open, but the best chances belong to the current overall World Cup leader from Switzerland Dario Cologna, who will turn 23 on 11th March. He is leading with an advantage of 203 points ahead of the king of Liberec Petter Northug (NOR) who is in a great shape which the three gold medals from Liberec showed us. For both it would be the first overall World Cup victory, and for Switzerland it would be the first ever one if Cologna can confirm his performances of this season.

The distance World Cup is quite open as well. At the moment several athletes maintain good chances. Currently the ranking is led by Axel Teichmann (GER) 1 point ahead of Dario Cologna and 6 points ahead of Pietro Piller Cottrer (ITA). In the sprint World Cup there is only a theoretical chance left to beat Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR), the defender of the last year's sprint title. The Norwegian has an advantage of 245 points over Tor Arne Hetland and only max. 250 points can be won in the last period.

On the ladies side there is a really tight fight for the overall World Cup trophy. Aino-Kaisa Saarinen (FIN) is leading 26 points ahead of Petra Majdic (SLO), while Justyna Kowalczyk also has chances (109 points behind) and we should never forget the title defender Virpi Kuitunen (FIN, 181 points behind). In the last period the maximum World Cup points available amount to 845 points (3x 100 points, 145 points at the 30 km in Trondheim, 400 points at the World Cup Final).

The ladies' distance World Cup is also open: Double World Champion Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) is in the lead 31 points over Saarinen and 127 points over Marianna Longa (ITA).

In the sprint World Cup the decision is already taken. Petra Majdic defended her title from last year. She has raced in an outstanding manner at all Sprint competitions and has now an uncatchable lead ahead of Pirjo Muranen (FIN) and Arianna Follis (ITA).

The overview of the current standings can be seen below. Please remember that since last year the top 6 of the World Cup ranking and also the Rookie of the Year - the best U23 athlete - will receive prize money for their great performances during the entire season. In total 180'000 CHF will be distributed, 90'000 CHF per gender. The overall winner will get 31'500 CHF.

Overall ranking ladies
1. Aino-Kaisa Saarinen (FIN) 1276 pts
2. Petra Majdic (SLO) 1250 pts
3. Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) 1167 pts
4. Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) 1095 pts
5. Arianna Follis (ITA) 835 pts
6. Marianna Longa (ITA) 813 pts

Distance ranking ladies
1. Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) 671 pts
2. Aino-Kaisa Saarinen (FIN) 640 pts
3. Marianna Longa (ITA) 544 pts

Sprint ranking ladies
1. Petra Majdic (SL0) 625 pts
2. Pirjo Muranen (FIN) 361 pts
3. Arianna Follis (ITA) 334 pts

Team Cup ladies
1. Finland 4115 pts
2. Italy 2608 pts
3. Norway 2528 pts

Overall ranking men
1. Dario Cologna (SUI) 939 pts
2. Petter Northug (NOR) 736 pts
3. Axel Teichmann (GER) 663 pts
4. Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) 580 pts
5. Pietro Piller Cottrer (ITA) 568 pts
6. Giogio Di Centa (ITA) 521 pts

Distance ranking men
1. Axel Teichmann (GER) 395 pts
2.Dario Cologna (SUI) 394 pts
3. Pietro Piller Cottrer (ITA) 389 pts

Sprint ranking men
1. Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) 580 pts
2. Tor Arne Hetland (NOR) 335 pts
3. Renato Pasini (ITA) 276 pts

Team Cup men
1. Norway 4310 pts
2. Italy 2512 pts
3. Russia 2381 pts

Nations Cup (ladies & men)
1. Norway 6836 pts
2. Finland  5268 pts
3. Italy 5120 pts