CROSS COUNTRY SKIING: Johaug claims Lillehammer Triple

Norway's Olympic and World Champion skier Therese Johaug.

You can’t make up for lost time, but Norway’s Therese Johaug is making it clear that the results of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games might have been much different if she hadn’t been on a dumb doping suspension.

Now 30, she was kept out of the Winter Games because of a lip balm given to her by the Norwegian team doctor in September 2016. It contained an anabolic steroid and was given to her in error, but she had to serve 18 months, missing PyeongChang.

She has returned with a vengeance, winning the 10 km Classical race in Ruka (FIN) last week, then sweeping to victory in the Lillehammer Triple, winning two of the three races.

She opened with a 33rd-place finish in the Sprint – not her specialty – then won both the 10 km Freestyle by more than nine seconds, and the 10 km Classical Pursuit on Sunday by almost 17 seconds! That gave her a cumulative time total of 58:58.9 to win the Lillehammer Triple, 16.8 seconds ahead of Triple silver medalist Ebba Andersson (SWE) and +17.9 ahead of Norwegian teammate Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg.

The race wins were the 45th and 46th World Cup individual victories for Johaug and the second Lillehammer Triple title for her; she also won in 2014.

The U.S. woman also scored their first World Cup medal of the season, as Sadie Bjornsen duplicated her bronze medal from 2017 in the Classical Sprint.

The three men’s races had three different winners, but Norway won six of the nine medals on offer, as Sjur Roethe and Didrik Toenseth went 1-2 in the 15 km Freestyle and 2-1 in the 15 km Classical Pursuit. In the Triple, Toenseth won with 1:24:03.9, with Roethe just 1.6 seconds behind and Emil Iversen (NOR) third at 1:03.3 behind. Summaries:

FIS Cross Country World Cup
30 November-2 December 2018
(Full results here)

Men’s Sprint Classical (1.6 km ): 1. Federico Pellegrino (ITA), 3:19.14; 2. Emil Iversen (NOR), +0.47; 2. Alex Harvey (CAN), +0.71; 4. Sindre Bjoernestad Skar (NOR), +0.94; 5. Finn Haagen Krogh (NOR), +1.09.

Men’s 15 km Freestyle: 1. Sjur Roethe (NOR), 36:34.0; 2. Didrik Toenseth (NOR), 36:40.0; 3. Denis Spitsov (RUS), 37:02.6; 4. Dario Cologna (SUI), 37:12.3; 5. Andrey Melnichenko (RUS), 37:14.6.

Men’s 15 km Pursuit Classical: 1. Toenseth (NOR), 44:13.8; 2. Roethe (NOR), 44:15.4; 3. Iversen (NOR), 45:17.1; 4. Calle Halfvarsson (SWE), 45:18.2; 5. Alexander Bolshunov (RUS), 45:18.3.

Women’s Sprint Classical (1.3 km): 1. Jonna Sundling (SWE), 2:52.74; 2. Stina Nilsson (SWE), +0.34; 3. Sadie Bjornsen (USA), +3.03; 4. Evelina Settlin (SWE), +3.82; 5. Kristine Stavaas Skistad (NOR), +6.65.

Women’s 10 km Freestyle: 1. Therese Johaug (NOR), 26:22.4; 2. Ebba Andersson (SWE), 26:31.6; 3. Charlotte Kalla (SWE), 26:38.1; 4. Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR), 26:57.2; 5. Krista Parmakoski (FIN), 27:05.9. Also in the top 25: 9. Bjornsen (USA), 27:39.4; … 11. Rosie Brennan (USA), 27:51.7; 12. Jessica Diggins (USA), 27:52.3.

Women’s 10 km Pursuit Classical: 1. Johaug (NOR), 29:35.5; 2. Andersson (SWE), 29:52.3; 3. Oestberg (NOR), 29:53.4; 4. Kalla (SWE), 29:58.6; 5. Parmakoski (FIN), 30:39.7. Also in the top 25: 10. Bjornsen (USA), 31:57.2; … 13. Diggins (USA), 32:17.8; … 15. Brennan (USA), 32:21.5.