La Clusaz, France – Kristin Stoermer Steira (NOR) was able to break away from the pack at the half-way mark for her second-ever World Cup victory. Canadian Sara Renner finished 17th in her first World Cup start of the season.
Steira made a big move between 7.5 and 9.8 km, opening a gap of 14 seconds on the field, a margin that grew as large as 24 seconds. A mainstay of the Norweigan team over the past years, Steira's recovered from a 16th in Kuusamo, to regain her top form. She also posted a 6th place finish in the World Cup opener in Gaellivare.
Aino Kais-Saarinen (FIN) took second, just ahead of young Norweigan, Therese Johaug. Swede Charlotte Kalla pushed the pace early near the front of the pack, but faltered in the last kilometers, finishing 11th, a full minute behind the winner.
Renner, like her teammate Ivan Babikov, who fnisihed 8th in the men's event, arrived in Europe on Thursday. She appeared to start slowly, at 3.75km she was at the back of the pack in 42nd place, but by the midway point, she had crept up to 20th. A strong finish, including a sprint duel with Betty-Ann Bjerkreim Nilsen (NOR), pushed the Canadian veteran to 17th, her highest position of the day.
Perianne Jones also started for Canada, finishing 55th, just under six minutes back.
No Americans raced.
Competition continues tomorrow with a 4x5km relay.