(translated from langrenn.com “Marit er i en annen liga” and “Dette gir selvtillit” 11-15-09)
Kikkan Randall had a very impressive 4th place finish this morning in the Beitostolen classic, ensuring a bit of variety in the otherwise Norwegian-stacked top 5. Marit Bjorgen won the race with a crushing 23 second lead in the 5km race, which was just over 14 minutes long. This followed her strong win yesterday and prompted her teammate Marthe Kristofferson, 25 seconds back and in third place, to comment “she is in another league”. Kristofferson had taken the day off yesterday, cautious of a sore throat, but said that today she was feeling much better and tried to hold her race together by focusing on technique. Kristin Stormer Steira placed second , her second podium finish for the weekend. Norway’s Vibeke Skofterud rounded out the top 5, just 2 seconds back from Randall. Liz Stephen of the U.S. placed 32nd, missing the top 30 by less than one second.
In the men’s race, it was Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway who topped the results in the 10 km race, edging out teammate and yesterday’s winner Petter Northug. Sundby, who had felt strong in training all fall, was glad to make the transition to snow a success. Northug was not disappointed by second place, noting that he has to feel better with his classic technique to go faster. Northug said he felt better in the first 6 kilometers of the race but then lost time to Sundby in the last half. Nikolay Pankratov of Russia placed third, and Eldar Ronning of Norway came in 4th. In fifth was Kris Freeman with another impressive finish for the U.S. Teammate Andy Newell, who will try to enter more distance races this season, skied to a solid 21st place.