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La Clusaz XC: Angerer, Kuitunen tops


Defending World Cup champion Tobias Angerer of Germany won his first race of the season Saturday, edging two Russians by less then a second to take a 30-kilometer mass-start freestyle race while women's World Cup leader Virpi Kuitunen of Finland won her third straight in a 15 km. No Americans raced.
LA CLUSAZ, France — Defending World Cup champion Tobias Angerer of Germany won his first race of the season Saturday, edging two Russians by less then a second to take a 30-kilometer mass-start freestyle race while women's World Cup leader Virpi Kuitunen of Finland won her third straight in a 15 km. No Americans raced.
    Angerer finished the 12-lap race in 1 hour, 17 minutes, 11.8 seconds with Alexander Legkov second, six-tenths back, and Olympic medalist Evgeni Dementiev third (1:17.12.6).
    In the women's six-lap 15 km, Kuitunen won in 42:08.8, three-tenths of a second ahead of fellow Finn Riitta Liisa Roponen. with Italy's Arianna Follis completing the podium (42:09.5).
    Eldar Ronning finished 51st but retained the overall World Cup lead with 332 points, followed by Norwegian compatriot Tor Arne Hetland (252) and Angerer (202). Hetland finished 15th on Saturday.
    Five-time Olympic biathlon champion Ole Einar Bjorndalen of Norway finished 16th.
    ''I picked the wrong pair of skis … it was very heavy out here,'' Bjorndalen said.
    Bjorndalen won the season opener in Sweden a month ago, his first career World Cup cross-country ski victory. He skipped this weekend's World Cup biathlon meet in Austria to improve his chances of making the Norwegian cross-country team for the World Nordic Ski Championships in Sapporo, Japan, in February, while he continues to compete on the biathlon circuit.
    Last season, Bjorndalen won the overall World Cup biathlon title for a record-tying fourth time, capping it with his eighth victory at the cradle of Nordic skiing at Holmenkollen outside Oslo in March.
    Kuitunen leads the overall standings with 422 points. Marit Bjoergen, the defending overall champion from Norway who didn't compete, is second with 314 points and eighth-placed Petra Majdic of Slovenia is third with 306 points.

For complete results, click here.

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