Marit Bjørgen became the undisputed queen of the cross-country World Championships with her fourth gold medal on the 30 km event on Saturday. Heidi Weng and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen secured a clean slate for Norway.
Bjørgen secured the Norwegian cross country women’s’ grand slam with the team’s six out of six available gold medals at the Lahti games when she distanced teammate Heidi Weng at the end of the race.
Weng secured the silver, with Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen completing the podium. Ragnhild Haga finished the clean swipe in fourth position on a marvellous day for the Norwegian athletes.
Bjørgen had her debut in World Championships context in 2001. Two years later she became World Champion for the first time, at the sprint event in Val di Fiemme, Italy. Since then she has amassed a staggering 17 gold medal at World Championships.
Bjørgen was the biggest favourite at the 30 km free style event in Lahti, Finland and took charge of the field after five kilometres. There was however no talk of an early charge, and the other contenders, with Charlotte Kalla, Krista Pärmäkoski and Heidi Weng leading the chasers, hung on.
A leading group of ten stayed together at the 10 km mark. Therefore none of them took the risk of a ski change.
Kalla broke her ski poleAfter 28 kilometres, the Norwegian tried to get rid of the competition and then Kalla – at the worst time imaginable – broke her pole in an uphill battle just before the end, and she had to see the Norwegian women sail away.
– This is crisis for Kalla, commentator for NRK, Jann Post, exclaimed.
At the last checkpoint Bjørgen led in front of Weng, Jacobsen and Haga, and the Norwegian quartet stayed ahead into the stadium.
Bjørgen created a gap in the so called Lahti corner and Weng sprinted away from Jacobsen in the battle for the silver. Haga secured the Norwegian grand slam with her fourth place.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today