CROSS COUNTRY: Johaug extends World Cup win streak, but a bronze for Diggins in Falun

Norway's triple World Championships gold medalist Therese Johaug (Photo: Granada via Wikipedia)

The penultimate weekend of the 2018-19 Cross Country season saw the amazing Therese Johaug win her ninth distance race in a row, along with good news for both Norwegian World Cup leaders.

Johaug won the women’s 10 km Freestyle race in Falun (SWE) in 25:23.9, nearly 19 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Ebba Andersson, with American Jessica Diggins claiming her fourth bronze medal of the season.

Johaug has not won nine World Cup distance races in a row and 12 straight if you count her three individual triumphs in the World Championships. She’s now undefeated; she was 33rd in an early-season Sprint race, but she has had one of the most dominant distance seasons in memory. She now has the lead in the World Cup Distance standings, with a 860-737 lead over teammate Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg, with two distance races left next week.

Oestberg continues to lead the overall women’s World Cup and extended her lead over Russia’s Natalia Nepyraeva to 1,424-1,327 with three races left to go next week.

The men’s World Cup situation is equally fluid, with contenders Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR) and Alexander Bolshunov (RUS) both winning in Falun. The race between them has tightened to 14 points, with Klaebo still leading, 1,393-1,379.

The final decisions will be made next week in Quebec City (CAN), with a Sprint, 10 km Mass Start and 10 km Pursuit on the schedule. Summaries from Falun:

FIS Cross Country World Cup
Falun (SWE) ~ 16-17 March 2019
(Full results here)

Men’s 1.4 km Sprint Freestyle: 1. Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR), 2:52.38; 2. Emil Iversen (NOR), +0.10; 3. Sindre Skar (NOR), +0.28; 4. Federico Pellegrino (ITA), +0.71; 5. Martin Bernstroem (SWE), +1.97.

Men’s 15 km Freestyle: 1. Alexander Bolshunov (RUS), 33:18.6; 2. Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR), 33:27.5; 3. Didrik Toenseth (NOR), 33:36.3; 4. Sjor Roethe (NOR), 33:50.8. Also in the top 25: 16. David Norris (USA), 34:33.9.

Women’s 1.4 Sprint Freestyle: 1. Stina Nilsson (SWE), 3:07.72; 2. Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR), +0.67; 3. Maja Dahlqvist (SWE), +2.14; 4. Ida Ingemarsdotter (SWE), +3.13; 5. Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR), +5.09.

Women’s 10 km Freestyle: 1. Therese Johaug (NOR), 25:23.9; 2. Ebba Andersson (SWE), 25:42.4; 3. Jessica Diggins (USA), 25:54.2; 4. Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR), 25:54.7; 5. Heidi Weng (NOR), 26:05.3. Also in the top 25: 12. Sadie Bjornsen (USA), 26:29.6; … 25. Julia Kern (USA), 27:17.8.