Praz de Lys, France – The Norweigan women and Russian men closed out the 2009 World Junior Championships with victories in the relay.
The women raced a 4×3.3km event with two classic legs and two skate legs. The favorite, Norway, won in convincing fashion, led by Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg, who captured her fourth gold of the Championships as the anchor leg.
Sweden, the one team with the depth to compete with Norway, finished second, 30 seconds back. The two teams opened up a 40 second lead on the first leg. Marte Kristoffersen, sick all week, and making on ly her second start, took the tag for Norway and skied away from Sweden’s Emma Wiken on leg two. Kristoffersen gave Norway a 15 second lead, and though Sweden battled back to within 6 seconds on the third leg, Oestberg easily outdistanced Hanna Falk on the last loop to seal the win.
Said Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR) “We had a really good team today. We were hoping for the gold medal, so we are now really happy! We had a nice day and enjoyed it!”
Hanna Falk of second place Sweden added “It was a good race, we are very satisfied with the silver medal! Norway has strong competitors and we knew before that the victory was going only to Norway.”
Germany finished third, staging an impressive comeback after lead skier Karolin Wilhelm handed off in 10th a minute back on the leaders. Anchor skier Hanna Kolb made up 14 seconds on the Finns and 36 seconds on the Russians to claim the final podium spot, just two seconds up on the those teams.
The US finished 7th, +2:39 and one minute behind Germany in third. The team skied a consistent race with Sophie Caldwell, Sadie Bjornsen, and Jesse Diggins all turning in the 6th fastest times in their respective legs. Third leg skier Adele Espy was 10th.
Canada finished 10th in the 11 team field.
In the men’s race, Russia, who took the top 4 places in yesterday’s 10km freestyle, skied to a clear victory. The Russians held an 11 second lead after one leg of the 4x5km event, a cushion that quickly grew to 1:08 by the end of the race.
The Russian Team of Raul Shakirzianov, Petr Sedov, Pavel Vikulin and Andrey Kalsin each posted the fastest time of their leg.
Sedov took home his third gold medal of the Championships.
Summer up Sedov, “the team gets on really well and that is what helped us to have such a good race!
Thank you everybody – it was a great Junior World Championships for us!”
The race for the silver was closely contested with four teams within 13 seconds. Germany came out on top edging Norway by seven seconds.
Said Hannes Dotzler of the German Team, “we had a bad start but managed to catch up. It is the best result we could done because the Russian team is very strong. We wanted the 2nd place and got it so we are pleased.”
The US finished 12th in the the 17 team field, + 3:45, and Canada 9th, +3:00. Canada’s Graeme Killick posted the second fastest time on the first leg.