After the victories in Kuusamo and Cogne Virpi Kuitunen from Finland won also the 15km mass start race in skating. For Kuitunen it is the seventh victory in her career. Only 0,3 seconds behind, her team-mate Riitta Liisa Roponen finished second. The third place took in the finish sprint the Italian Arianna Follis. For her it is the second podium place ever and her first in a distance race.
No North American women raced.
The race on the selective course at â€œLes Confinsâ€ was not so fast, the mass were together until the last lap where the top athletes tried to attack. But at the end the finish sprint made the decision.
Kuitunen is still in the lead of the overall World Cup with now 108 points ahead of the Norwegian Marit Bjoergen who was not at the start in the today’s race. In the lead of the Distance World Cup is also Virpi Kuitunen 75 ahead of Katerina Neumannova who finished in the today’s race on the fourth place.
Number of participants/ participating nations: 60 competitors from 17 nation
Number of Media/TV on site and HBC: 50 Media/ 6 TV/ HBC: Media Partners
Weather: sunny, 1 Â°C
Snow Conditions: compact
Special Remarks: Due to the mild weather only 2,5 km course
Virpi Kuitunen (FIN): â€œI trusted my shape, it wasn’t easy to win after my stomach problems in Cogne. In the finish I knew I could be strong if I was fast enough and in the front. My next goal is Tour de Ski and to get as many points as possible for the overall World Cup. After I will have to recover for the World Championships.â€
Riitta-Liisa Roponen (FIN): â€œMy husband, who I married this summer, is now my coach to and that makes me maybe stronger. The race started a little bit bad, I crossed someone and I was almost last. After the first lap I climbed up. I haven’t been good at the end in a sprint but this summer I had a different training and I got a little bit better.â€
Arianna Follis (ITA): â€œI’m very happy to manage the third place. In the last lap I was faster. I like races in mass start because there you could be behind the others and attack at the finish. I’m looking now for the Tour and especially to the sprint races, the other one’s I will see.â€