CROSS COUNTRY: Johaug returns with 10 km win in Otepaa

Norway's Olympic and World Champion skier Therese Johaug.

The amazing comeback story of Norway’s Therese Johaug continued in Estonia, with a win in the 10 km Classical race on Sunday.

The three-time Olympic medal winner was suspended for a doping violation from a loaded lip balm (really), but returned with a vengeance this season, winning the first five distance races of the season, then taking some time off to conserve her strength. She returned in Otepaa for the 10 km Classical and won by more than 48 seconds over Sweden’s Ebba Andersson.

“My shape is really good at the moment. I had a really good rest at home when the other girls were at the Tour de Ski,” she said afterwards. “But after the break I was really motivated to come back.”

So, she’s six-for-six on the season with her 49th career World Cup win and has moved up to second in the Distance standings with 500 points – even with her abbreviated season – to 567 for Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg, who has competed in all 11 races.

In the Sprint races, Norwegians also won, with Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo getting his fifth win of the season and extending his seasonal World Cup lead to 1,034-910 over Russian Alexander Bolshunov. Last season’s women’s Sprint World Cup winner, Maiken Caspersen Falla, won the women’s race for her first World Cup gold of 2018-19. Summaries:

FIS Cross Country World Cup
Otepaa (EST) ~ 19-20 January 2019
(Full results here)

Men’s 1.6 km Sprint Classical: 1. Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR), 3:20.05; 2. Alexander Bolshunov (RUS), +1.51; 3. Paal Goldberg (NOR), +2.53; 4. Eirik Brandsdal (NOR), +2.57; 5. Mattis Stenshagen (NOR), +7.69.

Men’s 15 km Classical: 1. Iivo Niskanen (FIN), 40:07.1; 2. Bolshunov (RUS), 40:23.0; 3. Didrik Toenseth (NOR), 40:53.5; 4. Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR), 40:55.1; 5. Alexander Bessmertnykh (RUS), 40:57.5.

Women’s 1.3 km Sprint Classical: 1. Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR), 3:05.16; 2. Natalia Nepryaeva (RUS), +1.40; 3. Maja Dahlqvist (NOR), +5.78; 4. Jonna Sundling (SWE), +8.12; 5. Katja Visnar (SLO), +23.22.

Women’s 10 km Classical: 1. Therese Johaug (NOR), 29:53.7; 2. Ebba Andersson (SWE), 30:42.1; 3. Nepryaeva (RUS), 30:50.4; 4. Krista Parmakoski (FIN), 31:07.7; 5. Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR), 31:08.5. Also in the top 25: 13. Jessica Diggins (USA), 32:19.7.