CROSS COUNTRY SKIING: Johaug wins seventh straight distance race in Ulricehamn

Norwegian cross-country superstar Therese Johaug

The amazing comeback story of Norway’s Therese Johaug continued in Ulricehamn (SWE) with another distance triumph, her seventh in a row since returning from a doping suspension due to a bad lip balm.

She won the 10 km Freestyle by a staggering 22.8 seconds over teammate Astrid Jacobsen, then came back to contribute a leg to the winning 4×5 km relay team on Sunday.

Johaug was out for two years, but returned for a summer roller-skiing event in August and has won 10 distance races in a row, including eight 10 km races (of various kinds), a 7.5 km Mass Start roller race and a 15 km Freestyle.

She’s no sprinter – she was 33rd in the Lillehammer Sprint back in November – but her unbeaten streak is amazing and she will shortly have another World Championships to showcase her abilities. In her career to date, she has won 11 medals, including seven golds.

Johaug now has 50 World Cup wins, now tied for no. 2 all-time with Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk (2001-18), but well behind the now-retired Marit Bjoergen (NOR: 1999-2018), who won 114 times. Johaug has won six races in a row, one behind Bjoergen’s record of seven straight in 2015. She’s on the verge of history.

In the men’s 15 km Freestyle, France’s Maurice Manificat won his 10th career World Cup gold and first of the season, just edging Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger. Summaries:

FIS Cross Country World Cup
Ulricehamn (SWE) ~ 26 January 2019
(Full results here)

Men’s 15 km Freestyle: 1. Maurice Manificat (FRA), 34:55.4; 2. Simen Hegstad Krueger (NOR), 34:56.5; 3. Didrik Toenseth (NOR), 35:04.1; 4. Sergey Ustiugov (RUS), 35:06.6; 5. Sjur Roethe (NOR), 35:15.3.

Men’s 4×7.5 km Team Relay: 1. Russia (Belov, Bessmertnykh, Spitsov, Maltsev), 1:17:53.2; 2. Russia, 1:18:14.0; 3. Norway, 1:18:29.0; 4. Finland, 1:18:49.6; 5. Sweden, 1:19:32.8. Also: 13. United States (Erik Bjornsen, Scott Patterson, David Norris, Ben Lustgarten), 1:22:04.0.

Women’s 10 km Freestyle: 1. Therese Johaug (NOR), 25:48.2; 2. Astrid Jacobsen (NOR), 26:11.0; 3. Ebba Andersson (SWE), 26:13.1; 4. Jessica Diggins (USA), 26:26.5; 5. Krista Parmakoski (FIN), 26:41.5. Also in the top 25: 15. Sadie Bjornsen (USA), 27:13.3; … 23. Caitlin Patterson (USA), 27:38.1.

Women’s 4×5 km Team Relay; 1. Norway (Weng, Johaug, Jacobsen, Oestberg), 57:06.3; 2. Sweden, 57:43.7; 3. Finland, 57:47.5; 4. Russia, 58:15.4; 5. Norway, 58:22.0. Also: 6. United States (Sadie Bjornsen, Rosie Brennan, Caitlin Patterson, Jessica Diggins), 58:32.9.