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Iversen, Neumannova Win Ski Races

January 6, 2002

VAL DI FIEMME, Italy (AP) _ Norway’s Tron Iversen edged Finland’s Keijo Kurttila on Sunday to win a World Cup cross-country sprint.

Czech skier Katerina Neumannova won the women’s 1,500-meter race, returning to first place in the World Cup standings. It was her third victory of the winter.

Iversen won the 1,500-meter race in a four-man final heat. Sweden’s Thobias Fredriksson came in third, followed by Norway’s Jan Jacob Verdenius.

Sweden’s Per Elofsson maintained his hefty World Cup lead despite skipping the sprint. The distance specialist won Saturday’s pursuit event.

Neumannova, coming off a fourth-place pursuit finish, finished ahead of Norway’s Hilde G. Pedersen in the final heat. Italy’s Sabina Valbusa finished third, followed by Russia’s Ljubov Egorova.

Norway’s Bente Skari, who had moved past Neumannova with a third-place finish in the pursuit, finished 20th after failing to get beyond the qualifying round.

Neumannova has 580 points in the standings. Skari, the defending World Cup champion, has 497 points on the strength of four victories this season.

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