After giving up half of her points lead when she dropped out of the Holmenkollen last weekend, Norway's Marit Bjoergen put up a fight with overall World Cup contender Beckie Scott of Canada, winning the final individual sprint of the year today in Changchun, China. Scott, who has been coming on stronger and stronger ever since the Olympics, raced superbly against three Norwegians in the A-final to finish second in the 1.0km freestyle.
But it wasn't enough to close the points gap on Bjoergen, who added 20 points to her overall lead and also took over the sprint standings to win the separate 2005-2006 World Cup Sprint trophy ahead of teammate Ella Gjomle and Beckie Scott. Scott racked up an impressive total of 376 sprint points, only 18 less than Bjoergen.
Beckie Scott: Closing Hard. Photo by Karl Saidla
2005-2006 Final Sprint Standings: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2006/CC/2138/2006CC2138WCSP.pdf
Scott now has just one more individual race in which to try and make up the 66-point gap and overtake Bjoergen for the overall World Cup win: a 7.5km + 7.5km pursuit (her favorite event) this weekend in Sapporo, Japan.
Current Overall World Cup Standings: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2006/CC/2138/2006CC2138WCOV.pdf
Today's sprint also saw more strong results from Scott's teammates. Chandra Crawford won the B-Final ahead of German veteran Claudia Kuenzel and 2005 World Championship Sprint medalists Emelie Oehrstig and Lina Andersson to take fifth, while Sara Renner finished 13th.
Final Results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/610.html?sector=CC&raceid=9627