Russians Sweep Women’s Cross Country
BORLAENGE, Sweden (AP) _ Julia Tschepalova won a 5-kilometer freestyle cross country race dominated by Russian skiers Wednesday and moved within 20 points of overall World Cup leader Bente Skari of Norway.
Tschepalova was timed in 13 minutes, 3.4 seconds on a lighted course. Russians swept the top six places, with Yelena Buruhina second in 13:11.4 and Larissa Lazutina third in 13:15.6.
Italy’s Sabina Valbusa was the top non-Russian finisher, placing seventh in 13:34.3.
Skari, the two-time defending World Cup overall champion, wound up 14th in 13:43.6
``She (Tschepalova) has the advantage now,″ said Skari, who’s much stronger in the classic-style technique. ``I may lose the blue (leader’s) jersey on Saturday.″
Tschepalova is one of the world’s top freestyle skiers and two of the last three races in the series, one in nearby Falun on Saturday and the last next weekend at Kuopio, Finland, will be held in that technique.
Canada’s Beckie Scott was the top North American finisher, placing 26th in 13:56.5.