Norwegian Men Sweep Cross Country
KUOPIO, Finland (AP) _ Anders Aukland led Norway to a sweep of the top eight spots Saturday in the men’s 15-kilometer race, the opener of the World Cup cross-country season.
Norway’s Bente Skari won the women’s opening 10K classic-style race.
Both events will be contested at the Salt Lake City Olympics in February.
Sweden’s Per Elofsson, the defending World Cup champion, finished ninth in the men’s classic-style race.
Aukland was timed in 38 minutes, 55 seconds, for his first World Cup victory. He held off Erling Jevne in the last 1.8 miles of the nine-mile race.
``The classic is my best style,″ he said. ``But there are many good Norwegians in the classic and we knew that we would be among the best today.″
Jevne was followed by Frode Estil, Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset, Kristen Skjeldal, Thomas Alsgaard, Tore Bjonviken and Espen Bjervig.
Among the women, Skari won in 28:52.6 _ 17.8 seconds ahead of Russia’s Olga Danilova and 27.3 ahead of Sweden’s Lina Andersson. World Cup champion Yulia Tchepalova of Russia was ninth.
Skari won three classic 10K races last season, including the world title.