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Northug takes men's 50K Freestyle

World Cup: Holmenkollen

Sun, Mar  14, 2010 - By FIS

Petter Northug made the success of the Norwegians complete by winning the 50 km in the free technique. The 24-year-old Norwegian took the victory in a time of 2:09:18h, just 2,9 seconds ahead of Pietro Piller Cottrer from Italy. Vincent Vittoz (FRA) couldn't follow Piller Cottrer and Northug on the last kilometre and finished third 32,7 seconds behind the winner.

The race was exciting with a early group going after 10 km with Vittoz, Maurice Manificat and Northug. Maurice Manificat was the first who couldn't follow the group anymore after 42 km and then also Pietro Piller Cottrer came back from the chasing group to the front. The last round in the stadium was really exciting with a great battle between Piller Cottrer and Northug. But in the finish, Northug was clearly stronger.

Petter Northug had the first time the honour to win at Holmenkollen. The winner of 1997, Pietro Piller Cottrer was happy with his second place and his second podium place in this season.

Northug is leading the overall World Cup with 1285 points while the runner up Lukas Bauer has 902 points. Until the end of the season still 450 points will be awarded. The distance World Cup was decided today. Northug took the victory with currently 659 points. Lukas Bauer is still second with 502 points and on third position is Marcus Hellner.

Petter Northug (NOR)

It was a very exciting race today. I tried to stay in the leading group from the start. I felt there would be many attacks during the competition. When the French attacked I just tried to stay with them. When Pietro came he was really fast. He almost killed me in the last uphill but I made it and won. I was sick some days ago and Drammen was my first sharp race. It was good preparation for today to race there. It was not hard for me to find motivation as this is Holmekollen and I wanted to win this 50 km in front of the home crowd.

Pietro Piller Cottrer (ITA)
I won on Holmenkollen 13 years ago so I know how does it feel. I really wanted to live this feeling again. I was at the beginning skiing in the chasing group and was staying a bit behind, At that time I thought the race was over for me. But after change of my skis I felt better and better and my strength increased. When I caught Maurice it gave me extra kick and energy I am happy to be second. I wish Petter to win again here in thirteen years.

Vincent Vittoz (FRA)
We did not speak before the race about tactics but we knew that if the pace is slow we do not have any chance for podium. Therefore we tried to set high pace from the beginning. It could seem to be crazy but it was working. Jean Marc did a great job today. He slowed the chasing group down and enabled us to increase the time gap. Maurice has been as well in a good shape recently. We had great skis as well. You know without great equipment you cannot think of winning here. It was tough day for our service men with a lot of work. I want to thank them very much.