Norwegian Kristin Stormer Steira has never been known for her sprint talent, but in this weekend’s Pragelato World Cup pursuit she showed that her speed isn’t all that bad as she blew away Katerina Neumannova in the final stretch.
With that she claimed her first ever World Cup victory.
– I’m not very good at sprinting, said Stormer Steira to langrenn.com right before Christmas.
She also didn’t feel very sure of herself before the race in Pragelato.
-I have to admit that I didn’t think I would be able to take Neumannova in the sprint, says the skier.
She was able to hang with the top skiers in the classic portion of the pursuit.
– I had good skis so I had it pretty easy. In the skate portion I tried to go as economically as possible. Together with Neumannova we were able to drop Claudia Kuenzel. We knew she would be tough to beat in a sprint. It was just wonderful that I was able to win, says Stormer Steira after the race.
Her team member and World Cup leader Marit Bjorgen and top contender Kristina Smigun did not start in Pragelato.
-It is amazing to win, but I am realistic enough to know that it would have been harder had there been more of the best racing, says Steira.
Sports Director Bjornar Hakensmoen was naturally very happy with the 23 year old.
– It was incredible. We knew she could move up in the skate portion, and now she was able to keep up in the classic portion. We had a hope that she could be in a fight for a podium spot, but her winning was a little more than expected, says Hakensmoen.