Monday, January 24

Niskanen superb – Valnes impressed in Ruka

RUKA (VG) Classic specialist Iivo Niskanen led from start to finish in the World Cup opening. Erik Valnes became the best Norwegian in 4th place and stood out strongly in relation to the Olympic selection.

GOOD IN THE COLD: Erik Valnes was the best

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Niskanen won for the third time at home and thus broke Alexander Bolshunov’s series of five straight victories in classic World Cup races. He was joined by Alexei Chervotkin and Boilsjunov on the podium.

Erik Valnes, who finished third in the sprint on Friday, ran his best distance race in the World Cup. He finished just 1.1 seconds behind Bolshunov.

– I am brilliantly satisfied, he says to TV 3.

– It is raw, says Johannes Høsflot Klæbo who finished as number nine.

– I’m incredibly impressed. We must stop talking about Valnes as a sprinter, says the channel’s expert, Niklas Dyrhaug.

Emil Iversen has always enjoyed himself in Ruka and became the second best Norwegian with 7th place.

The 15 km classic is an Olympic exercise with an individual start on 11 February at the cross-country arena Zhangjiakou. The Norwegian Olympic selection is based on three races: the opening race at Beitostølen, this race and a 15 km in Swiss Lenzerheide during the Tour de Ski.

Johannes Høsflot Klæbo made his first distance race of the season. He never fought with the best after the cold and defeat in the sprint final on Friday.

– It was a war all the way, says Klæbo and was not completely happy with how the body worked. He thinks he lacks enough hard sessions.

TOP: No one could keep up with Iivo Niskanen in Ruka.

Pål Golberg ended up four seconds behind Klæbo in the finish in 10th place. Hallingdølen was only number 50 in the opening race at Beitostølen last weekend.

Hans Christian Holund won the opening race at Beitostølen, but finished in 12th place.

Simen Hegstad Krüger is on the defensive after a weak start to the race in Ruka. The Olympic winner from Pyeongchang was far behind already on the first passes.

– I do not recognize the body. I got warmed up faster than in the race, describes the Lyn runner.

In the opening last weekend, Hans Christer Holund was the best of the Norwegian participants in Finland in 15 km – ahead of Emil Iversen (2), Erik Valnes (4), Simen Hegstad Krüger (6) and Pål Golberg (50). Johannes Høsflot Klæbo died due to a cold.

The World Cup opening in Ruka ends with the hunt start on Sunday.

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