RacingWorld CupPedersen, Rotchev Take Split-second Wins

FasterSkier FasterSkierJanuary 7, 2006

First World Cup victory for Pedersen,
oldest female winner ever in FIS World Cup Cross-Country

Hilde G. Pedersen (Norway) is the winner of the classic World Cup race over 10 km in Otepää (EST). The home favourite Kristina Smigun placed second just 0,2 seconds behind Pedersen, thereby missing her first home course victory extremely narrowly. 22-year-old Justyna Kowalczyk from Poland ranked third 19,1 seconds behind the winner. It is her first podium place in the World Cup. Justyna led for most of the race but also could not encounter the strong finish put forth by the experienced competitors, Pedersen and Smigun.

At 41 years of age Hilde G. Pedersen is the oldest female winner in the FIS World Cup Cross-Country. Only Harri Kirvesniemi was a couple of month older than Pedersen today when he one the 50 km race in Oslo/Holmenkollen in 2000. Before Pedersen the title of the oldest World Cup winner was held by Marja-Lisa Kirvesniemi who won in Funaesdalen (SWE) 1992 at the age of 36.

Marit Bjoergen, the current World Cup leader, finished fourth and is now 80 points ahead of Julija Tchepalova (Russia) who did not compete today.

Spectators: 12.000

Weather: cloudy; -5°C

Snow Conditions: hard packed variable

Quotes of the top three athletes:

Women:

Hilde G. Pedersen: “I am very happy about the win. I have always done well in Otepää as the track suits me well. I was third two years, second last year so the victory today is a nice continuation of that progression. I really like Otepää – I think it is the best World Cup venue because of the great audience and atmosphere. We did really well with the choice of my skis and wax – they worked excellently. I am thankful for the hard work our service team did for us.”

Kristina Smigun: “I am satisfied with my race. The team prepared very good skis for me. The crowd really pushed me hard – the support here in Otepää is comparable to the Olympics or World Championships.”

Justyna Kowalczyk: “I am very pleased about my first podium finish. I am in a very good shape after a successful summer training – I even trained more than planned. It has helped my preparation that I did not race early in the season. I hope to remain in a good shape up to the Olympics where my aim is a top six finish in the 10 km race, which is my mail goal in Torino.”

MEN'S RACE

Vassili Rotchev is the name of the winner of the 15km classic World Cup competition in Otepää (Estonia). Claiming his first victory of the season, the Russian finished in a very tight race just 0,5 seconds ahead Lukas Bauer from the Czech Republic, his 9th podium place. Rotchev's team mate Serguei Novikov took the third place, 3,7 seconds behind the winner. It was the first podium place in his career for the 25 year-old Novikov.

In the World Cup overall standing Tobias Angerer from Germany is still in the lead ahead of Tor Arne Hetland and Vincent Vittoz. But Angerer and Hetland didn't compete today.

The local matadors, last year's winner Andrus Veerpalu and Jaak Mae did not quite meet the home audience's expectations by placing 8th and 5th, respectively.

Spectators: 15.000

Weather: cloudy , -3°C

Snow conditions: hard packed variable

Quotes of the top three athletes:

Vassili Rotchev: “I am very happy about my victory today as it was the best race for me this year and also my first World Cup victory this season. The course here in Otepaa is very hard but it was really well prepared. I started out very fast and then hoped to be able to keep my pace until the finish. Since Lukas started behind me, I did not quite know how fast he was skiing, so I just did my best to finish on the podium. I much prefer the classical style and the shorter distances from sprint to 15km. In the Olympics, I am not sure if I can repeat my Sprint victory from last year’s World Championships since it will be in the freestyle technique this time. I will compete in all the remaining World Cups before the Olympics; after Oberstdorf the team will fly to Armenia to do our final altitude training and then return to compete in Davos (SUI) for the last World Cup before Torino.”

Lukas Bauer: “It is my second podium finish in ten days and I am a bit surprised about that. Today’s waxing conditions were very challenging and we had to work hard to get my skis prepared with sufficient kick for today’s race. It was still a difficult race and in the last lap I was just hoping to finish as I was getting really tired and in the uphills my kick was getting weaker. Losing by just 0.5 seconds is crazy! I will compete next weekend in Val di Fiemme but will then skip the World Cup in Oberstdorf to do my final altitude training before the Olympics. In Torino, I will compete in all the races except for the sprint.”

Serguei Novikov: “This is the first podium finish in my career so I am obviously very satisfied. I am in shape so it is not surprising either. I am just glad I could show that in today’s race. I hope to be selected for the Olympics. The Russian team will be selected at the end of January.”

For complete results:
http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=17403

Source; FIS

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