Marit Bjørgen rolled to her fourth Tour de Ski victory in as many stages and fifth-straight win on Wednesday, besting the women’s 5-kilometer classic individual start by more than 10 seconds over Norwegian teammate Therese Johaug in Toblach, Italy.
Before the race, Bjørgen said she considered double poling the whole thing.
“I was thinking about it then I heard the Norwegian guys say it’s not so big difference,” she said in a post-race interview with FIS. “I feel I’m in perfect shape and incredible, actually.”
Bjørgen started last of 52 women remaining through four stages in the Tour and posted the third-fastest 1.7 k time, 1.6 seconds behind Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk, who led through that point, and 0.9 seconds back from Johaug. Bjørgen topped Kowalczyk’s time at the 2.1 k mark by 0.5 seconds then continued to hammer over the final three kilometers to pull out the win in 12:48.5.
Johaug was third-fastest at 2.1 k and 10.8 seconds off Bjørgen’s mark at the finish. Heidi Weng completed another Norwegian podium sweep in third (+13.1), just ahead of Sweden’s Emma Wiken, an early leader who eventually ended up fourth (+13.8).
Kowalczyk faded over the final few kilometers to place fifth (+17.6), another early leader Anne Kyllönen of Finland took sixth (+19.8), and Russia’s Evgenia Shapovalova was seventh (+21.1). American Sadie Bjornsen started 40th and initially finished fourth before ending up eighth (+22.7), for her second-best World Cup stage result after placing seventh in this year’s opening prologue of the Tour.
Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg took ninth (+26.1), and Sweden’s Anna Haag was 10th (+31.6).
Also for the U.S., Jessie Diggins made it into the top 20 in 19th (+52.1), and Liz Stephen placed 29th (+1:01.6) to move into 16th in the overall Tour standings.
Kikkan Randall was 42nd, Sophie Caldwell 45th, and Ida Sargent 46th after posting the 20th- and 22nd-fastest times though the 1.7 and 2.1 k checkpoints.