The 29-year-old Julija Tchepalova won the individual World Cup race over 30 km in free technique in a time of 1:18:44.1. The athlete from Russia finished 17,2 seconds clearly ahead of the Czech Katerina Neumannova. Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle from Germany took the third place 1:12.9 minute behind the winner.
Neumannova started very fast on the course that consisted of two laps (12,5 km and 16,7 km) but could not keep her pace and lost her lead to Julija Tchepalova in the second lap. Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle was fighting with the Canadian Beckie Scott for the third place and won this duel with her strong finish as she was able to ski together with Katerina Neumannova for much of the second lap.
It was the second victory after winning the 10 km free style race in Canmore (Canada) on the 15th of December, and sixth podium place including four second place finishes this season, for Julija Tchepalova. After the victory in the Pursuit race in Falun this week on Wednesday today's third place was the third podium finish for Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle (she also finished third in Canmore). For Neumannova it also the sixth podium place (three victories, two second places and one third place) this season.
The overall World Cup leader Marit Bjoergen did not finish the race. Now she is 46 points ahead of Beckie Scott which finished fourth in today's race. Julija Tchepalova leads the Distance World Cup clearly with 116 points ahead of Neumannova. There are two individual races left on the World Cup schedule: 15.03 Sprint F in Changchun (CHN), 19.03 Pursuit in Sapporo (JPN)
Sara Renner was 27th in the race, while the sole American – Sarah Konrad – was 38th.
Quotes of the athletes:
Julija Tchepalova (RUS): â€œI have ranked 2nd so often this year in the World Cup that I am very happy to win today! It was difficult to race after Katerina today because she had a very strong first lap and I really did not want to finish second again. The course here in Oslo is very hard but the atmosphere is great and the crowds are very supportive of all the competitors so I like competing here. After today, I will compete both in China and Japan and also in the Russia Cup before I will enjoy two months of holiday after the season. I would still like to win the Distance World Cup so I am hoping to have a good last race in Sapporo.â€
Katerina Neumannova (CZE): â€œMy main season goal was the Olympic Winter Games in Turin. After the 30km race in the free technique that I won I was sick for a week and could not train so I am particularly happy about my two second place finishes this week, here today and in Falun on Wednesday. I tried to keep my pace today but was not feeling so well in the beginning of the second lap and could not really keep it up until the end, unfortunately. While Julija benefited from having good splits on me since she started just 30 sec behind me, she was just too strong for me today although I, too, wanted to win. The course here in Holmenkollen is very tough, one of the toughest on the World Cup circuit with the continuous ups and downs. The conditions and my skis were all great today but it was a very difficult race from the beginning. Compared with the mass start race in the Olympics, today’s race as an individual start race was very, very challenging. I will not compete in China but will leave for Japan on Wednesday to compete in the final pursuit race there.â€
Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle (GER): â€œI am always in a very strong shape at the end of the season for some reason so I would not mind even if the season continued a bit longer! The track here in Holmenkollen is very difficult but I like it precisely because of its undulating character (lots of ups and downs). And I like the great flair of Holmenkollen — it is fun to race here! After Sapporo, we will still have the German Championships, and then I will have to return to my work as sports soldier in the German military, including all the typical military duties such as shooting, overnight camps and so on.â€
Beckie Scott (CAN): â€œI am very happy with my 4th place here today since 30km skating races are usually not my strongest event and I do not have a great history here on Holmenkollen. I am feeling better and better with each race and think that I am close to my pre-Christmas shape so I am feeling hopeful about my chance to win the overall World Cup. Another thing that might speak for me is that the World Cup will now move on to China and Japan and we Canadians really know how to travel since we are probably the team that travels the most of all the teams.â€
Weather: sunny ; – 10Â°C
Snow Conditions: hard packed