Sami Jauhojarvi fell but came back and became Finnish pursuit champion on Sunday. Virpi Kuitunen won the women’s race.
Jauhojarvi beat Tero Simila and Olli Ohtonen in the sprint. Jari Isometsa was fourth.
The victory was Jauhojarvi's second gold medal at the Finnish championship.
— I showed that it’s possible to win despite a crash. I struggled in the classic portion, but I managed to come back even after falling in the skate part of the race. I knew I could win when we entered the stadium together, said the winner.
He is hoping to show that he is getting in shape in the Ottepaa World Cup next weekend.
– The 15-kilometer classic race is important for me. I’m hoping to show more speed toward the Olympics, says Jauhojarvi. He was fourth in the Beitostolen World Cup before Christmas and sixth in Kuusamo.
Virpi Kuitunen won the women’s pursuit ahead of Riitta-Lisa Lassila. Aino-Kaisa Saarinen was third, 32 seconds behind Kuitunen. Kaisa Varis was fourth, 18 seconds from third. Both Kuitunen and Lassila raced in the Nove Mesto World Cup race on Saturday (and on Friday) and arrived in Lapinlahti early Sunday morning — for their third race in three days.
– I was so tired and I was surprised that we were able to get a gap to the other racers, said Kuitunen. She has two second places from this year's World Cup in Beitostolen and Kuusamo.
Five ready for the Olympics:
Virpi Kuitunen, Riita-Liisa Lassila, Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, Temu Kattilakoski and Sami JauhojÃ¤rvi are so far selected to represent Finland at the Olympics.