More golden joy for Northug and Bjoergen
Sun, 27 Nov 14:02:00 2011
Double Olympic champion Petter Northug held off Switzerland’s Dario Cologna to win the 15km Classic Pursuit at the FIS Cross-Country Skiing World Cup in Finland, and claim the Ruka Triple crown in the process.
The 25-year-old (pictured) dominated the final race in Kuusamo to once again top the podium.
Despite finishing the Sprint Classic well down in 16th on Friday, Northug stormed to 10km Freestyle gold on Saturday ahead of Cologna to set himself up for the Ruka Triple in the 15km Classic Pursuit.
While pressed by the Swiss skier, Northug, who won three world titles earlier this year, showed his class to win in a time of 38 minutes 41.5 seconds, some 1.8 seconds ahead of Cologna in second.
And Northug's Norwegian teammate Eldar Roenning made a late break to see off the charge of Kazakhstan's Alexey Poltoranin and Swede Johan Olsson to finish third.
Kuusamo : 15km classic men
In the women's race, triple Olympic champion Marit Bjoergen continued her impressive 100 per cent start to the World Cup season with 10km Classic Pursuit gold.
Bjoergen, who won four world golds earlier this year, travelled to Kuusamo with 10km Freestyle and 4x5km relay gold in the bag and kick-started proceedings by winning the Sprint Classic on Friday.
The 31-year-old followed that up with 5km Freestyle gold on Saturday and 24 hours later she was once again dominant in the 10km Classic Pursuit crossing the finish line first at a canter.
Bjoergen clocked a time of 28 minutes 0.1 seconds, well ahead of Norwegian teammates Therese Johaug and Vibeke Skofterud to take the Ruka Triple crown in Kuusamo for the second year running.
"I knew that it was possible to win but Vibeke was only 17 seconds behind me so I had to tough it out," said Bjoergen.
"But after two laps I heard that I was 30 seconds ahead and then I knew it was possible to win. I am very happy and very satisfied with my race."
And, while Bjoergen ran away with gold, then the fight for silver was a far different affair with Johaug and Skofterud neck and neck going into the final stages.
Both crossed the finish line 33 seconds behind Bjoergen however it was Johaug who took silver with Skofterud settling for bronze just seven tenths back.
Kuusamo : 10km classic wom