The Cross-Country queen from the 2010 Olympics, Marit Bjoergen from Norway pulled away from rival Justyna Kowalczyk to win the Cross-Country World Cup Pursuit race in Lahti.
The Norwegian sprinted away from the field to finish in 40 minutes 10.8 seconds with Poland's World Cup leader Kowalczyk 11.1 seconds behind. Meanwhile, Norway's Therese Johaug was another 6.7 seconds back in third for her first individual podium finish of the season.
For Bjoegen was this victory over 7,5 km + 7,5 km the third World Cup win in this season and the 33rd in her career.
In the overall World Cup, Justyna Kowalczyk is dominantly in the lead with 1696 points by winning today in total 100 World Cup points (80 points for second place and then 20 points from the intermediate sprints). On second place follows Petra Majdic, who is still injured with 1191 points while Aino Kaisa Saarinen 910 points.
The distance World Cup trophy belongs already to Justyna Kowalczyk as she is there leading untouchable with a lead of 427 points ahead of Marit Bjoergen and from now on only max. 245 distance World Cup points will be awarded.
Marit Bjoergen (NOR)
It was a great race. Therese and I were working together and at the end I was able to make the gap to Justyna. I have a great shape and hope that I will be able to show that as well tomorrow and on my home races next week. My next big goal is the World Champs in Oslo and then I will see...maybe I continue until Sotchi, maybe not - I can't say it yet.
Justyna Kowalczyk (POL)
It was a great race for me today. With my second place I am sure that I secured overall World Cup victory. Nevertheless I still have goals this season. I have been skiing full throttle all comeptitions and I will do that in remaininng races. This season everything worked out perfectly. My training in summer was very good and hard. It was painfull too but it payed back. Also my team has been very good and supported me perfectly. I am still motivated to race. Next year there ar World Champs in Oslo and that will be my biggest goal.
Therese Johaug (NOR)
I am very happy about my race today. It is first time on the podium at a World Cup this year and it is great. I have been in a good shape after Olympics. I will be tomorrow in the relay team and I want to perform well too. I am not coming tp Drammen but wil be for sure in Oslo. I am looking forward to racing there. I hope I will be on the podium again.
Maurice Manificat from France took his first ever World Cup victory in Saturday's 15km + 15km Pursuit World Cup competition in Lahti. The 24-year-old athletes claimed victory in a time of 1:11.44h, just 3,6 second ahead of Lukas Bauer from Czech Republic who was the runner-up. Ilia Chernousov took the third place in a finish sprint of a group of four athletes.
After the classical part, a group of five athletes was in the lead ahead of a big chasing bunch. In the interesting race with three intermediate sprints for bonus World Cup points we saw a lot of attacks and offensive skiing. Lukas Bauer won all the intermediate sprints and earned now in total 125 World Cup points.
In the overall World Cup, Petter Northug, who was not competing today but focusing on the next races is still in a comfortable lead of 172 points ahead of Lukas Bauer. On third place is Dario Cologna, who was not racing today either. In the rest of the season the racers would be able in the best case still 725 World Cup points.
In the distance World Cup standing it is more tight. Northug leads the ranking with in total 514 points while runner up Bauer has 488 points. On third position is currently Marcus Hellner from Sweden. In the upcoming World Cup races 275 World Cup points will be still awarded when anybody would win all competitions and Bonus points.
Maurice Manificat (FRA)
I am really satified with my race. I had good skis, good glide and good shape. I didn't expect to be in top 5 after classic part - I felt very strong in that part. After change over I was skiing with Lukas. I must say I am still suprised about my victory. Even though I have been in a good shape and performed really well at the Olympics. I look forward to Oslo and Falun. I would like to end up this successful season being in top 15 of the overall WC.
Lukas Bauer (CZE)
I had very good classic skis. I am quite satified with my race today. It was good cooperation with Manificat, I was stronger in the uphill, he was faster in the downhill so we knew without words that we could work good together to stay in front of the big bunch.
There is no chance to beat Petter in overall World Cup. I had health problems in December and therefore cannot fight for the overall WC victory. Maybe I will skip Holmekollen. I feel quite tired after tough programe of last weeks. I will decide in upcoming days. The World Cup Final in Falun is very improtant to me as I want to capture second place in the overall ranking.
Ilia Chernousov (RUS)
I am very happy about my race today. It is my second podium this year and I'm really satisfied. I was starting fast and tried to follow the first group but it didn't worked out, I had not the best ski's in the classical part but then I was strong and in the end I was able to sprint and took the third place. Next week I will go for the 50 km and hope to be as good as possible.
Contributed by Sandra Spitz