Astrid Jacobsen (NOR) closed in on overall World Cup leader Virpi Kuitunen with strong performance in Falun, Sweden. Jacobsen and teammate Marit Bjoergen led heading out of the transition zone. Another Norweigan, the young Marte Elden joined the top two and the trio increased the speed, pulling away from the main group. In the first free technique loop, at the beginning of the famous â€˜MÃ¶rdarbacken’ (Killer hill), Jacobsen attacked and the others had to let her go.
This was Jacobsen's third career victory in a World Cup distance race. “I’m in really good shape right now. The classical and the skating part worked well. But the â€˜MÃ¶rdarbacken’ is painful!” said the young Norweigan star.
Bjoergen, who has struggled to regain her dominating form was pleased with her performance. “I’m very satisfied with the second place in the today’s race. The tracks here, fit’s me well and I must say I like the â€˜MÃ¶rdarbacken’ — it’s long and hard. Astrid is in a good shape and she needs the points in the overall more than me — so she is the right winner.”
Jacobsen won by 5.9 seconds over Bjoergen with Finland's Aino Kaisa Saarinen 14.3 seconds back in third. Elden faded to 10th – still by far her top World Cup finish, besting her 22nd earlier this month in Estonia. Sabina Valbusa (ITA) edged Anna Hansson (SWE) for fourth place.
Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) finished 12th and now holds a slim 31 point lead over Jacobsen in the overall World Cup standings.
Kikkan Randall, the lone American starter, finished 46th, +4:12.
Canadian Sara Renner continued her consistently strong racing, finishing 16th in the middle of a large pack. Renner was less than 4 seconds out of 11th. Teammate Madeleine Williams was 45th.
The Norweigan women had an extremely successful day, placing 5 in the top 10, the only nation with more than one finisher in that group.