Italy – German Claudia Nystad won the 2.5km freestyle World Cup Final Prologue in Bormio/St. Caterina (ITA) yesterday.
Nystad finished the 2,5 km in soft snow conditions in a total time of 7:46.4 minutes, 5.6 seconds ahead of Norwegian Astrid Jacobsen. Riitta Liisa Roponen (FIN) was third, 9.3 seconds behind Nystad.
Nystad, who was 13th at the first intermediate point at 0.8km, increased her speed to the end of the race while Jacobsen, who was second at the .8km mark held her spot.
Said Jacobsen, “I'm very satisfied with me second place. I felt 100 percent better than after the race at home in Oslo last weekend. The goal for today was to finished among the top 3. It was important for me that Virpi (Kuitunen) was not in front of me. For the sprint World Cup I didn't believe that I have a chance against Petra — she had a really strong season and is for sure a good winner.”
The race counts toward the World Cup Final (3 competitions in 3 days), which is a kind of â€˜Mini Tour'. With her victory, Nystad also took a time bonus of 15 seconds and is now leads World Cup Final ranking by 10.6 seconds ahead of Jacobsen.
To get the World Cup points for the overall and sprint World Cup standings from today, the racers must finish all three races.
Slovenian Petra Majdic finished sixth and if she completes the next two races, she will win the overall World Cup Sprint title, with Jacobsen taking second. This would be the first Cross-Country World Cup trophy ever for Slovenia.
“I'm so happy about my today's race,' said Majdic. “I knew before that I have to finish among the top 10 and I was a little bit that I didn't make it. I can tell you that I will do everything to finish the World Cup Final and get the sprint World Cup trophy – the historical one for Slovenia — even if I have to go on both hands and legs over the finish line.”
Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) finished fourth, and holds a 210 point lead over Jacobsen in the overall World Cup standings. For Jacobsen to catch Kuitunen, the Finn would have to miss the next two races and Jacobsen would have to win both events.
No Americans or Canadians raced bringing the World Cup season to a close for the two teams.
The World Cup Final continues tomorrow with a 10km classic mass start for the women. There will be bonus seconds available at 2 intermediate points (2 and 7km) and at the finish. 15, 10 and 5 seconds will be awarded to the top three at each point.
Marit Bjoergen (NOR) finished 12th (Photo Credit: Swix Sport)