Falun, Sweden – Justyna Kowalczyk became the first ever overall World Cup winner in cross-country from Poland today. She held off the competition in the final event of the season to win the World Cup Final. A hard charging Therese Johaug (NOR) was second, and Charlotte Kalla (SWE) took third in the 10km freestyle handicap start race.
Kowalczyk started the 48 seconds ahead of Anna Olsson (SWE) and skied hard out of the start. Olsson, a stronger sprinter, never had a chance, and the large chase pack led by Johaug and Kalla quickly swallowed her up. Johaug, starting ninth, quickly moved to the front of the pack and pushed the pace. The first time up the course’s largest climb, Johaug attacked hard, and only Kalla could follow. They opened a 20 meter gap and set about tracking down Kowalczyk. They continued to take time out the Pole’s lead, but it was clear that there were not enough kilometers left. Johaug, skiing with a very high tempo, attacked again and put 10 meters on Kalla at 7.5km, and easily held on to second place. Kalla never broke and claimed the third spot.
Said a jubilant Kowalczyk “I am so satisfied and proud to be the overall World Cup winner! It is an honor for me to be the first ever Polish Cross-Country skier to win the title. Now hopefully Poland knows what Cross-Country is!”
“Before yesterday,” she continued, “I didn’t expect that I could win the overall World Cup. I thought Petra Majdic would take it. I am so happy – it is unbelievable – it is the first time ever that I am allowed to wear a yellow bib.”
Majdic won the Sprint Cup and finished 100 points back in the overall. She needed a strong performance in the putsuit yesterday, but struggled and finished 12th today.
Norway had a strong day today, taking the top three spots in the “woman of the day” results. Kristin Stoermer Steira, who skied up to 4th, posted the fastest time, Therese Johaug was 2nd, and Mathe Kristoffersen 3rd.
Sara Renner finished the World Cup Final in 31st and Daria Gaiazova 52nd for Canada.
Kikkan Randall ws 50th for the USA.
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.