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Saarinen and Northug claimed victory

World Cup: Kuusamo

Mon, Nov  30, 2009 - By FIS

Finland's Aino-Kaisa Saarinen won the 10km individual start race in classical technique and repeated her victory from last year. The reigning World Champion clocked 25:58min to finish 13 seconds ahead of Russia's Irina Khazova with Norway's Vibeke Skofterud finishing third 14 seconds off the pace.

For Saarinen it was the third World Cup victory in her career while Irina Khazova was the first time on the podium in a World Cup race. Saarinen takes the overall World Cup lead from Kowalczyk who finished seventh on todays race with a advantage of 21 points.

The victory in 15 km individual start race of the men's took the Norwegian Petter Northug in a tight final with 1.2 seconds advantage to Maxim Vylegzhanin from Russia. Alexander Legkov (RUS) finished third 7,9 seconds behind the winner.

For Northug, it was on today's icy track the first victory in an individual start in the classical style and in total the 5th World Cup victory in his career. Vylegzhanin took his first podium spot in his career.

Northug is now leading the overall World Cup standing with 50 points advantage to Ola Vigen Hattestad and Ronny Andre Hafsaas (both NOR).

Aino Kaisa Saarinen (FIN):

"I felt really good during the entire race. Our waxing staff did as well a great job as usual in Kuusamo. I'm really happy with my race and happy that so many friends where here and cheering me. In December I will go to Davos to a high altitude training camp."

Irina Khazova (RUS):
"It is a good day for me. I made my first podium spot in the World Cup and I'm hope for more."

Vibeke Skofterud (NOR):
"I like Kuusamo. I'm worst place was 8th - so it is a really good place of me. We have tough tracks here and demanding downhills, that's fits me. I changed a lot because my goal was it to come back into the National Team this year. I trained on my own with my own coach and as it seems, it worked out well."

Petter Northug (NOR):
"It is my first victory in an individual classic 15 km race. I can still not believe it, it is amazing. I heard at km 10 that I am 11 seconds behind and then, I came closer and closer - 8 - 6- 4 seconds behind. I pushed all what I could even if I felt tired. I will skip Düsseldorf and then compete in Davos and Rogla. We also do a high altitude training in Davos. Davos is not so a good place for me as I am always losing there the yellow bib.;-) "

Maxim Vylegzhanin (RUS):
"I'm happy with my second place. Petter Northug was very strong at the end and beat me. But I hope for more podiums in this season."

Alexander Legkov (RUS):
"The course here is tough but the success of the Russian team was today the waxing crew, they did an amazing job and prepared perfect ski's. Two were faster today so I hope I can beat them the next time."

Contributed by: FIS