Source: Langrenn.com — Translated by Torbjorn Karlsen
Stanislav Rezac of the Czech Republic beat Odd-Bjorn Helmeset in a photo finish and Cristina Paluselli of Italy won the women’s race in the Norwegian Birkie on Saturday.
Rezac and Hjelmeset got the same time, but the finish photo showed that Rezac was an inch ahead. Jerry Ahrlin of Sweden was third, almost two minutes out. Rezac also won the overall FIS marathon cup men’s title after capturing first place in three out of eight races.
Christina Paluselli of Italy, this year’s second place finisher in the American Birkie won the women’s race by 1.49 minutes to Annmari Vilanmaa. Ingvild Aas of Norway was third.
Paluselli won four out of the eight races in the FIS marathon cup and claimed the overall title by a huge margin. Her season also included two second places.
Hjelmeset jumped in the car immediately following the race and drove 460 kilometers to Falun, Sweden in order to race Sunday’s 4 x 10-kilometer World Cup relay finally for Norway. Not the best recovery after racing 54-kilometer classic.
– It was further to Falun than I realized. But that’s the way it is. It’s going to be exciting to see what I can do in Sunday’s relay. It would be exciting if we could end the season with gold, but you can’t order that, said Hjelmeset in Falun late Saturday night.
The conditions in the Norwegian Birkie were great.
– I thought I would be able to win the sprint, but I placed my ski pole on my own ski or something and it went out of the track. I almost took out Rezac. I would probably have been disqualified if that had happened, so it was just as well that he won. I regret not being able to win the sprint, but I can’t do anything about that now, says Hjelmeset.
– It was a good race. Hard and brutal. Rezac and I were first at Skramstad and skied together from there on. We skied pretty easy from Sjusjoen toward the final finish. We were both focusing on the finish sprint. It’s a big difference sprinting in a sprint race compared to sprinting after 54 kilometer first. Rezac is a good double poler, says Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset
For results from this race and other FIS marathon cup and World loppet including overall cup standings go to: http://www.worldloppet.com/results.php