CROSS COUNTRY SKIING: Therese Johaug’s redemption tour continues in Beitostolen

Norwegian cross-country superstar Therese Johaug

The story of the first month of the FIS Cross Country World Cup is Norway’s triple Olympic gold medalist Therese Johaug.

Sidelined from the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games because of a doping suspension caused by a steroid-infused lip balm (!), she has returned to the World Cup tour with a vengeance, winning her fourth distance race in a row, this time in the 15 km Freestyle by almost six seconds over Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla in Beitostolen (NOR).

She now has a 500-369 lead over Kalla in the overall World Cup standings, and 47 career World Cup wins. That moves her into third place all-time among FIS Cross Country World Cup race winners; the all-time leader is Norway’s Marit Bjoergen (84 from 1990-2018); second is Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk (50 from 2001-18) and Johaug passed Norway’s men’s leader, Bjoen Daehlie (46: 1989-1999). Johaug also won her 11th career World Cup race on Norwegian soil.

In the men’s 30 km Free, Norway’s Sjur Roethe won his second race of the season, ahead of teammate Martin Johnsrud Sundby by more than 17 seconds. The Norwegians completed their sweep of the weekend’s races with wins in both relays. Summaries:

FIS Cross Country World Cup
Beitostolen (NOR) ~ 8-9 December 2018
(Full results here)

Men’s 30 km Freestyle: 1. Sjur Roethe (NOR), 1:09:53.5; 2. Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR), 1:10:28.7; 3. Andrey Melnichenko (RUS), 1:10:42.7; 4. Evgeniy Belov (RUS), 1:11:00.7; 5. Hans Christer Holund (NOR), 1:11:10.0.

Men’s 4×7.5 m: 1. Norway I (Iversen, Sundby, Roethe, Krogh), 1:10:38.9; 2. Russia, 1:10:39.6; 3. Norway II, 1:11:32.3; 4. Switzerland, 1:12:48.1; 5. France, 1:12:48.5.

Women’s 15 km Freestyle: 1. Therese Johaug (NOR), 37:33.9; 2. Charlotte Kalla (SWE), 38:39.8; 3. Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (BOR), 38:40.0; 4. Ebba Andersson (NOR), 38:42.7; 5. Anastasia Sedova (RUS), 38:57.7.

Women’s 4×5 km: 1. Norway I (Weng, Johaug, Haga, Oestberg), 57:23.6; 2. Russia, 58:00.9; 3. Finland, 58:01.4; 4. Russia, 58:04.5; 5. United States (Sadie Bjornsen, Rosie Brennan, Caitlin Patterson, Jessica Diggins), 58:11.6.