Justyna Kowalczyk claimed victory in the classical 15 km Mass start World Cup race on the 6x 2,5 km course in Rogla in a time of 45:01.9 min. The Polish athlete won 4,6 seconds ahead of the World Cup leader Marit Bjoergen (NOR) , who took the second place in a photofinish against Anna Haag (SWE).
Justyna Kowalczyk claimed victory in the classical 15 km Mass start (photo: Nordic Focus)
In the exciting race with two intermediate sprints, the top three stayed always in the leading group. The first intermediate sprint won Petra Majdic (SLO) and in the second one, was Justyna Kowalczyk the first who crossed the sprint line.
It was the second victory in this season for Kowalcyzk, who will compete next in FIS Tour de Ski. Marit Bjoergen could celebrate today already her fourth podium place in this season while Anna Haag managed her second podium place ever in her career.
Marit Bjoergen earned today 85 World Cup points and is now in the lead of the overall World Cup with 447 points, 50 points ahead of Justyna Kowalczyk. On third position is Petra Majdic who finished in today's race on 7th place.
Justyna Kowalczyk (POL)
It was a very tough race today. It was fast as well. I did not plan to fight for bonus World Cup points today. I wanted to focus on the final result so I was not involved in the first sprint. But then the pace was slower than I expected and therefore decided to fight even for bonus points. I will now go home and enjoy Christmas with my family. I will then go to Tour de Ski. I am usually in a good shape after the Tour so I am looking forward to it
Marit Bjoergen (NOR)
I am very happy about my second place today, I am excited I will take the yellow bib home for Christmas. It is probably the last time this season I am wearing it becaucase I will not compete at Tour de Ski. It was not an easy race for me. My body was very tired after yesterday‘s sprint and I felt heavy first two laps. After that it went better and better but Justyna was faster.
Anna Haag (SWE)
It is great to be on the podium again. I still have not used to it and am excited about that. The weather was much better today than yesterday. I like the course in Rogla very much. Especially the uphills are very nice. I was fighting very hard but Justyna was very strong today.