XCFeedsNorthug Continues to Roll + Controversy in the Women’s Final

Avatar ADSMarch 7, 2009

It really is a scary thought that the world’s best sprinter (Hattestad) couldn’t pass Northug on the final straight today. If the world’s best sprinter can’t who can? On the other side, a somewhat controversial end to the women’s final saw Muranen attempt to skewer Majdic after she was “cut-off” on the final corner but more on that in a bit. br /br /span style=”font-weight:bold;”Women /spanbr /br /The race saw a home-town girl be the fastest qualifier in Muranen who has impressed and been a resurgence this year in the skate sprints. The most disappointing and worrying result today (other than Kikkan’s 49th) was Bjørgen, who by her standards, is having a nightmare season. She mustered a 45th and over 11 seconds back of Muranen. Not long ago was she the one who was the sure bet to win these types of races. Cross-country skiing sure is a funny sport. Kowalcyzk only managed an 11th today and could only manage a 24 points gain on Saarinen today. I expect that gap to close a lot more tomorrow. br /br /The controversy in the women’s sprint started in the semi-finals when Kalla’s start gate failed to open and put her flat on her face. This essentially put her out of contention for an A-final position; but naturally, a complaint was filed by the Swedish team and Kalla was allowed given a 7th starter position in the A-final. I must say that was a fair decision and the correct one given by the judges. Anything less would have been unjustifiable as Kalla had no fault with the wand malfunctioning. That meant only five in the B-final. The promising Marthe Kristoffersen won the B-final edging out Kuitunen. br /br /The next disputable point occurred with about 300m left in the women’s A-final when Majdic had a slight edge on Muranen on the giant turn before the home straight. Majdic decided to go for the best race line. Bad news for Muranen was that Majdic’s best race line involved her cutting Muranen off. This caused Muranen to loose a bit of moment (so Majdic would ski over her tips) and let Follis in second place. Rightly so, Muranen was P.O’ed and took a couple stabs at Madjic’s back before getting back into her stride. Had on of those blows hit Majdic, it surely would’ve broken skin.br /br /Even though Dixon and Goldstrom said that was Majdic did was justifiable, I have to disagree. This event land-straight in the grey area of FIS race rules. On one hand, the rules say racers are entitled to the best race line, while another rule says that one must not impede a fellow racer. Hmmmmmm…I believe Majdic was in the wrong and feel for Muranen (even though she got a little chippy and pushed Majdic and had some hasty words for her in the finishing pen) because she was taking her best race line, but so was Majdic. Perhaps it was a little personal vendetta for Majdic as a similar incident occured last season in a sprint race, but the athletes roles were switched. br /br /Majdic won to not only record another win in her impressive year, but also take over the World Cup Overall bib as she now has a 74 point lead over Saarinen. br /br /albuterol

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