Editor's Note: The quotes below were sent to us by FIS. Usually FIS provides quotes from the top three athletes. So it's disappointing that they did not get a quote from Andrew Newell, but got one from the fourth place finisher instead.
FIS World Cup Cross-Country in Changchun (China), Sprint Classic, 15.03.2006
Bjoergen and Fredriksson won the Sprint race in Changchun
Marit Bjoergen (NOR) and Thobias Fredriksson (Sweden), are the winners of the World Cup Sprint in free style in Changchun (CHN).
The 25 -year-old Bjoergen could celebrate in today's race her sixth victory and totally the eight podium places this season. Her opponent in the overall World Cup, Beckie Scott from Canada finished second and the third place took Marit's team mate Ella Gjoemle. Guro Stroem Solli from Norway was the first left out of the podium. The B-Final was won by the Olympic Champion, Chandra Crawford (Canada). With today's victory, Marit Bjoergen also won the Sprint World Cup with 394 points just six points ahead of Ella Gjoemle (second place) und 18 points ahead of Beckie Scott (third place).
In the overall World Cup is still in the lead Marit Bjoergen, 66 points ahead of her opponent Beckie Scott.
For Thobias Fredriksson it was the second victory this season after winning the Sprint last week in Borlaenge on 7th of March. Fredriksson was the fastest men in the final round on this flat course in Changchun. The following podium places took Christoph Eigenmann (second place) from Switzerland just ahead of Andrew Newell (USA, third place). For the 26-year old Eigenmann and the 22-year-old Newell it was the first podium place ever in their career. The Olympic Champion Bjoern Lind, Sweden, has broken his pole during the race and finished fourth. The B-Final was won by Eldar Roenning from Norway.
The Sprint World Cup went to Bjoern Lind, second won Tobias Fredriksson and the third place took Tor Arne Hetland (Norway).
Weather: clear sky, – 6Â°C
Snow Conditions: soft
Quotes of the top three athletes:
Marit Bjoergen, NOR : “This was my day. It's been quite rough these past months, so it feels extremely good to be able to win the sprint cup. Everything felt right, from the qualification through the quart final and semi final. Now I'm going to relax for a while before the race in Sapporo on Sunday. Being here in China has been a new experience, but I haven't been able to eat so much of the food. I've had rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner since I came here! ”
Beckie Scott ,CAN: “I'm very happy about today's race, and also for the second place in the World Cup. Today's race was so fast. As the weather got colder, the snow got harder, and that gave the race more and more speed. I really wanted to beat Marit today, but she was just too strong. I think the organizers have done a great job. We didn't really know what to expect, since it's the first time the Chinese have hosted a race. But this has been a really positive experience for us. ”
Ella Gjoemle , NOR:Of course I'm very happy with third place in today's race and in the World Cup, but I was hoping that I would be able to go all the way. It looked good through to the final, but then both Marit and Beckie Scott managed to get ahead of me. These things happen, but I wish I could have been able to keep them behind me that last round as well. The atmosphere has been fantastic, it's such a special feeling being cheered on by so many people. The conditions were very varied. In the semis, the snow was quite soft, and in the final it was quite hard. But the conditions were the same for everyone.”
Thobias Fredriksson, SWE: ” It was a good day for me – I finished first and I won with that the third place in the Sprint Cup. I'm now very satisfied. For me it was a tough race especially in the qualification round. I don't really now why I skied so slow, but in the Finales I felt much better. The atmosphere in the stadium was great and push me forward.”
Christoph Eigenmann, SUI: “It's unbelievable – I won my first podium place! I'm so happy now. We arrived here in China only with a small group. One person who was Physiotherapist and at the same time our coach and one technician. We worked hard together and we are very satisfied about the result. I hope my podium place will help a little bit to bring the Cross-Country Sport in Switzerland forward. Now we will go back to Switzerland, because we have no money anymore to take part at the Pre-World Championships in Sapporo.
Bjoern Lind, SWE, 1st place Sprint World Cup:
This season has been fantastic, and it feels really good to have won the cup. These last couple of weeks I've been sick with a cold, and that has affected my performance. So I wasn't even sure about participating tonight. But I'm glad I did, even though things didn't work out. I had some trouble with my stick, and it ruined the race for me. Being in China is really cool, and I'm looking forward to coming back here next time. The conditions today were really varied, but the atmosphere was great.