Johnsrud Sundby, Johaug win cross-country World Cup races
KUUSAMO, Finland (AP) — Defending overall champion Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway won the men’s 10 kilometer freestyle event Saturday at the opening cross-country skiing World Cup meet of the season, while Therese Johaug dominated the women’s 5K race.
Johnsrud Sundby finished in 21 minutes, 5.5 seconds at the Ruka Ski Centre to beat Alex Harvey of Canada by 11.2 seconds. Dario Cologna was third in 21:17.1.
Johaug led from the start of the women’s race and finished in 11:23.8, beating Swedish rival Charlotte Kalla by 17.6 seconds. Sweden’s Ida Ingemarsdotter was third, in 11:49.2.
Johnsrud Sundby and Johaug will both start first in Sunday’s pursuit races, which wrap up a three-day mini tour that kicks off the season. The winners of Sunday’s races will gain 200 World Cup points.
With Norwegian great Marit Bjoergen taking the year off to have a child, Johaug and Kalla are seen as two of the main favorites for the women’s overall World Cup title. Kalla is normally the stronger freestyle skier but Johaug showed she’s becoming more of an all-around performer.
“This is not my best distance event, but I have worked on technique, strength and high speed, so I am now better at so fast paced skiing,” Johaug said.