Skari, Elofsson Near Ski Titles
Mar. 13, 2002
OSLO, Norway (AP) _ Norway's Bente Skari won a World Cup cross-country sprint Wednesday to virtually clinch the women's overall title.
Compatriot Thomas Alsgaard finished fourth in the men's sprint, enabling Sweden's Per Elofsson to close in on his second straight overall crown. Elofsson did not compete but has a big lead over Alsgaard with two races left.
Alsgaard dominated the prelims at Holmenkollen, the cradle of Nordic skiing, but the final was won by teammate Jens Arne Svartedal. Sweden's Jorgen Brink was second followed by Finland's Keijo Kurttila.
``This was my sixth or seventh race in 10 days,'' Alsgaard said. ``My body is tired.''
Svartedal won all three freestyle sprints this season, but this was his first in the classical style.
The next men's race is the 50K free Saturday. The last race in the series is March 23 at Lillehammer, a 58K classical.
Skari dominated qualifying and finished the women's race ahead of Sweden's Lina Andersson and Germany's Manuela Henkel. The classical style race is Skari's specialty.
This was Skari's 28th World Cup victory. Only two races remain in the series, a 30K freestyle Saturday at Holmenkollen and a 58K classical at Lillehammer on March 23.