The first official FIS points race of the season was held last Saturday, November 7th in Saariselkä, Finland. World Cup veteran Riita-Liisa Roponen (FIN) took the victory over National Team teammate Pirjo Muranen in the women’s 5km event. Sami Jauhojaervi (FIN), Finland’s top male skier, edged Russian Sergey Novikov by 3.5 seconds in the men’s 10km.
The men’s field featured 117 finishers, including 1998 Olympian Philip Boit of Kenya, who finished last, over nine minutes back. 118th went to Danny Silva of Portugal. It is likely both men are trying to meet FIS requirements for participating in the Olympics. Most of the skiers were from Finland, Russia and Ukraine.
In contrast to the men’s race, only 27 women finished in the elite class.