Not today Marit! That’s what Marit Bjørgen‘s Norwegian teammate, Therese Johaug, might very well have been thinking Saturday as she sped away to a sizable victory in the women’s 15-kilometer skiathlon — the penultimate race of World Cup Finals in Falun, Sweden.
After Bjørgen came within three seconds of her at the top of the overall World Cup standings, Johaug had to do one thing on Sunday: win. The bigger the gap, the better. Bjørgen, who won Friday’s classic sprint but finished second to Johaug by 33.6 seconds on Saturday, will have to make up that time gap on her teammate to take the overall World Cup crown.
Johaug continued to gap her competition in the skate portion of the skiathlon, leading Bjørgen by 15 seconds at 9 k, then 23 seconds just over 2 k later. With fewer than three kilometers remaining, Johaug had at least 30 seconds separating her from Bjørgen, and she cruised to the victory in 41:08.9.
Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen placed third, 56.6 seconds behind Johaug, and Norway’s Heidi Weng beat out Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla and another Norwegian Kristin Størmer-Steira to the finish in fourth through sixth, respectively. Sweden’s Emma Wiken was seventh, Russia’s Yulia Tchekaleva and Eva Vrabcova-Nyvltova eighth and ninth, and Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg 10th.
Johaug now leads the overall World Cup by seven points, and 15th in the World Cup Finals mini tour.
Kikkan Randall is the top non-Norwegian in the standings in fifth, behind Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen in third and Weng in fourth. The American placed 20th behind teammate Liz Stephen in 15th.
Sadie Bjornsen finished 21st for the U.S., along with Jessie Diggins in 36th, Ida Sargent in 37th, Caitlin Gregg in 40th, and Sophie Caldwell in 41st.
The lone Canadian at World Cup Finals, Andrea Dupont was 45th.