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Northug wins cross-country World Cup finale

March 24, 2013

FALUN, Sweden (AP) — Petter Northug of Norway clinched the overall cross-country World Cup title Sunday with a convincing victory in the final race of the season.

Northug had a big lead over his main competitors going into the concluding 15-kilometer freestyle pursuit race at the three-day World Cup finals, and he won the race in 35 minutes, 48.3 seconds.

Finn Haagen Krogh was 0.7 seconds back, and Martin Johnsrud Sundby was another 1.1 behind in third as Norwegians swept the podium.

Alexander Legkov of Russia and Swiss defending champion Dario Cologna had a chance of overtaking Northug for the overall victory but couldn’t come close to catching the Norwegian.

Norway’s Marit Bjoergen protected her big lead to win the women’s 10-kilometer freestyle pursuit.

The triple Olympic champion skied alone for the whole race and won in 26 minutes, 39.6 seconds. Fellow Norwegian Therese Johaug was 49.3 seconds back in second, with Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla 1:11.7 behind in third.

It was Bjoergen’s 59th World Cup race victory. In her 13 races this season, she was never worse than second.

But she skipped many races before the world championships and couldn’t prevent Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland from taking the overall title. Kowalczyk skipped Sunday’s race but still finished more than 500 points ahead of the second-place Johaug. Kikkan Randall of the United States was third, with Bjoergen in fourth.

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