BEITOSTØLEN, Norway — Marit Bjørgen won the women’s 10-kilometer skate on Saturday in Beitostølen, with nearly 20 seconds to spare over runner-up Therese Johaug and another Norwegian national-team member Heidi Weng in third.
In pristine-and-fast conditions under the sparkling, late fall sun, Bjørgen polished off the two-loop course in 23:07.6. She did so after being what coach Egil Kristiansen described as “a bit irritated” with her second-place performance in Friday’s 10 k classic.
There, she missed out on the win by nearly 25 seconds to Johaug and reportedly went straight back to the hotel to study video of her race. What she discovered was her classic technique was a bit off.
“She gets a little too far forward and doesn’t put enough pressure into the snow,” Kristiansen told NRK. “It was much better today.”
“Racing felt easier today,” Bjørgen told reporters after the race. “My body was responding better than yesterday, I had great skis, and I felt like I was able to get a lot of power out of myself today.”
Johaug finished 19.7 seconds behind Bjørgen on Saturday after starting directly before her in bib 56 of 57.
“I’m just as satisfied today as I was yesterday, but I didn’t have that last little energy that Marit had today,” Johaug told reporters. “I had a good race, and I’m happy to see that the training I’ve put in this summer and fall is paying off.”
At 2 k, Johaug took the lead from teammate Ingvild Flugstad Østberg by 4.4 seconds. Bjørgen, who started 30 seconds after Johaug, blew through the checkpoint with a new best time of 7.7 seconds.
The last to start, she simply had to hold her own. Norway’s Martine Ek Hagen led at 6 k, which Weng topped before Johaug bested her by 13 seconds. At the same checkpoint, Bjørgen came through another 11.5 seconds ahead of Johaug.
By the finish, Johaug bested Weng by 30.6 seconds, and Bjørgen beat Johaug.
Hagen ended up fourth, 16.5 seconds behind Weng and 24 seconds ahead of Østberg in fifth.
Always struggled in Beito
Weng, who was third for the second-straight day, told FasterSkier she was quite content with her performance.
“I’ve always had a hard time with the season openers at Beitostølen. They’ve never been my best races and especially in the skate race,” she said. “There’s a lot of V2 here, and I’ve always struggled with that.
“I skied well on the first lap, but then I fell back toward the end of the last lap. I’m 50 seconds back, but that’s less than a minute and I take that as a bonus,” she added with a smile. “I generally get better as the season progresses, and I’m looking forward to the World Cup.”
“I’m 50 seconds back, but that’s less than a minute and I take that as a bonus. I generally get better as the season progresses.” — Heidi Weng, third for second day in a row at the opening FIS races in Beitostølen, Norway
Germany’s Claudia Nystad placed sixth, Ragnhild Haga (Norway) was seventh, Coraline Thomas Hugue (France) eighth, Stefanie Böhler (Germany) ninth, and Denise Herrmann (Germany) 10th.
— Alex Kochon contributed reporting
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.