DrylandRacingSmigun and Hjelmeset won the individual race in Lahti

FasterSkier FasterSkierMarch 11, 2007

Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeseth of Norway won the men’s 15 kilometer classic race 26.1 seconds ahead of teammate Eldar Ronning. Tobias Angerer was third, 26.7 seconds out.
Top North American was Devon Kershaw, Canada in 35.place, 2.49 out. Kris Freeman, USA was 42. Stefan Kukn (CAN) was 52 and Lars Flora (USA) was 64.

Kristina Smigun of Estonia won the 10 kilometer classic World Cup race in Lahti, Finland on Sunday, 26 seconds ahead of Olga Savialova of Russia. Viola Bauer of Germany was third. There were no North Americans in the race.

For Smigun it was the first World Cup victory in this season. She finished the course with difficult wet snow conditions in 28 minutes and 30 seconds. The second place took the Pursuit World Champion from Sapporo Olga Savialova (RUS) clearly 26.7 seconds behind Smigun. Viola Bauer from Germany finished third, 28.9 seconds behind the winner. For Bauer it is the first podium ever in a World Cup race.

In the overall World Cup ranking, Virpi Kuitunen, who finished toady on 12th position, fixed with the yesterday’s race the World Cup and has now reached totally 1319 points. Marit Bjoergen is with 803 points second and on third place follows Katerina Neumannova just 25 points behind Bjoergen. In the Distance World Cup, Kuitunen is also in the lead but only 56 points ahead of Katerina Neumannova (CZE), the seventh of the today’s race.

Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset, the winner of the men’s race, shows his good shape to his competitors. He was second after the first intermediate point a 3,0 km but at the end he was clearly in the lead with 26,1 seconds ahead of his team mate Eldar Roenning. The third place took the Tour de Ski winner Tobias Angerer 26,7 seconds behind the winner.

For the 35-year-old World Champion Hjelmeset it was his first World Cup victory in this season and the 7th in his career.

In the overall World Cup, Tobias Angerer is in the lead with 951 points. On second place is still Alexander Legkov with 573 points. The Distance World Cup is also leading by Angerer (412 points) ahead of Vincent Vittoz from France (370 points) and Eldar Roenning (285 points).

Number of participants/ participating nations: 55 ladies, 69 men / 18 nations

Spectators: 8.000

Weather: partly cloudy, + 3°C

Snow Conditions: wet

Quotes:

Kristina Smigun (EST): “This was my first victory this season and it came absolutely one week too late, but better than never. I was sick after New Year and I had too little time to prepare to Sapporo. Today I had no special tactic in this race. I heard only the intermediate times and I was better that others – meter by meter. During summer I will rest and see what will happened.

Olga Savialova (RUS): ”I’m very happy for second place especially because this race was classic style. I will now participate in all the World cup races until the end of this season. Than we still have the Russian championships left. After the season I will also compete at the international Kamchatka Marathon.”

Viola Bauer (GER): “I have been in good shape earlier in this season but got fifth or sixth. I have been at podium in Olympic Games but never in the World Cup. I am very, very happy.
I started faster than usually, my skies very good and my race got better and better towards the end. In Oslo I hope that I can race as good as today. Let’s see what will happened at summer. I’m not sure if I will continue my career or not.

Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset (NOR): “I have a really good competition today. After 2,5 km I felt that I’m in shape and speed staid fast and I was lucky to hold it until the finish. I must say Tobias in a very good shape, he skied all race in Sapporo and yesterday the sprint race here and today the 15 km — I’m impressed. He was a strong competitor in this competition today.
The tracks were in good conditions but it was right to put red group nearly at the beginning of the starting order that the top skier have the best conditions.

Eldar Roenning (NOR):” My race was good. The whole Norwegian team had quite good skies. At 10 kilometres I was fourth and after that I pushed and gave my best.
I have no ‘Japanese’ jet lag anymore. Still last night I went to sleep at 10 pm and slept till 9 this morning.

Tobias Angerer (GER): “Change of order of the red group was the right thing to do today. With this decision the best athletes got the best conditions. I was surprisingly good today. I did not start to fast till 3 km. My skies were slippery in up hills. I was 5 -10 seconds behind Odd-Björn and got tired. I reached nearly my big goal for this season since I will maybe win the overall World Cup.

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