Nordic Worlds: Finns win women’s relay


The Finland women’s cross country team dominated the field today in a 4×5 km relay race at the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic. The team, made up of World Cup stars Pirjo Muranen, Virpi Kuitunen, Riitta-Liisa Roponen and Aino Kaisa Saarinen, won the race by 13 seconds to defend their title, won at the 2007 championships.

“This is a great feeling to get every day a gold,” Saarinen told Associated Press writer Mattias Karen. Saarinen also claimed gold in the opening 10K classical race last week and the team sprint on Wednesday.

The German team led by Claudia Nystad pulled in the second-place honors, while Sweden was .4 seconds behind to climb on the podium in third.

The American team of Kikkan Randall, Morgan Arritola, Elizabeth Stephen and Caitlin Compton finished 14th.

“Each individual skied their hardest, so that’s all we can ask,” U.S. cross country head coach Pete Vordenberg said.

The American athletes sank in the standings during every leg of the race, but Vordenberg saw a lot to be proud of in his racers. “We had a really strong start with Kikkan. She probably had her best classic race of all time. Then it tagged over to Morgan and I think it’s safe to say it was her best 5K classic race as well,” Vordenberg said. “Liz had a really fast start. She probably didn’t pace it quite right, but skied super strong. Caitlin was our anchor. She didn’t have the best day, but she skied her butt off and that’s what we ask of them.”

Tomorrow the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team will tackle the men’s 4X5 relay. “We have the men’s relay tomorrow and it’s kind of a hodge podge of distance guys and sprinters,” Vordenberg said. “I think it’s just going to be another day of looking how each person can ski. I think the sprinters are going to have a really good opportunity to whip some people and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Go to UniversalSports.com for highlights of all the action in Liberec.


The Finland women’s cross country team dominated the field today in a 4×5 km relay race at the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic. The team, made up of World Cup stars Pirjo Muranen, Virpi Kuitunen, Riitta-Liisa Roponen and Aino Kaisa Saarinen, won the race by 13 seconds to defend their title, won at the 2007 championships.

“This is a great feeling to get every day a gold,” Saarinen told Associated Press writer Mattias Karen. Saarinen also claimed gold in the opening 10K classical race last week and the team sprint on Wednesday.

The German team led by Claudia Nystad pulled in the second-place honors, while Sweden was .4 seconds behind to climb on the podium in third.

The American team of Kikkan Randall, Morgan Arritola, Elizabeth Stephen and Caitlin Compton finished 14th.

“Each individual skied their hardest, so that’s all we can ask,” U.S. cross country head coach Pete Vordenberg said.

The American athletes sank in the standings during every leg of the race, but Vordenberg saw a lot to be proud of in his racers. “We had a really strong start with Kikkan. She probably had her best classic race of all time. Then it tagged over to Morgan and I think it’s safe to say it was her best 5K classic race as well,” Vordenberg said. “Liz had a really fast start. She probably didn’t pace it quite right, but skied super strong. Caitlin was our anchor. She didn’t have the best day, but she skied her butt off and that’s what we ask of them.”

Tomorrow the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team will tackle the men’s 4X5 relay. “We have the men’s relay tomorrow and it’s kind of a hodge podge of distance guys and sprinters,” Vordenberg said. “I think it’s just going to be another day of looking how each person can ski. I think the sprinters are going to have a really good opportunity to whip some people and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Go to UniversalSports.com for highlights of all the action in Liberec.


Rank Bib Name   Nation Time FIS Points
 1 FINLAND      FIN 54:24.3
    MURANEN Pirjo       14:11.2  
    KUITUNEN Virpi       13:57.2  
    ROPONEN Riitta-Liisa       13:41.2  
    SAARINEN Aino Kaisa       12:34.7  
 2 GERMANY      GER 54:37.3
    ZELLER Katrin       14:34.7  
    SACHENBACHER STEHLE Evi       14:44.9  
    GOESSNER Miriam       12:37.9  
    NYSTAD Claudia       12:39.8  
 3 SWEDEN      SWE 54:37.7
    ANDERSSON Lina       14:33.0  
    NORGREN Britta       14:38.6  
    HAAG Anna       13:09.3  
    KALLA Charlotte       12:16.8  
 4 NORWAY      NOR 54:40.4
    BJOERGEN Marit       14:19.9  
    JOHAUG Therese       14:20.3  
    STEIRA Kristin Stoermer       13:01.2  
    KRISTOFFERSEN Marthe       12:59.0  
 5 ITALY      ITA 55:16.8
    CONFORTOLA Antonella       15:13.0  
    LONGA Marianna       14:07.7  
    VALBUSA Sabina       13:19.7  
    FOLLIS Arianna       12:36.4  
 6 POLAND      POL 55:36.4
    KOWALCZYK Justyna       14:06.9  
    MAREK Kornelia       15:07.6  
    JASKOWIEC Sylwia       12:42.2  
    MACIUSZEK Paulina       13:39.7  
 7 JAPAN      JPN 55:40.4
    NATSUMI Madoka       14:43.5  
    ISHIDA Masako       14:07.1  
    KASHIWABARA Michito       13:28.9  
    FUKUDA Nobuko       13:20.9  
 8 RUSSIA      RUS 56:01.7
    SIDKO Alena       14:16.6  
    ROTCHEVA Olga       15:07.2  
    TCHEPALOVA Julija       13:37.6  
    MEDVEDEVA Evgenia       13:00.3  
 9 FRANCE      FRA 56:04.4
    BOURGEOIS PIN Elodie       15:14.8  
    LAURENT PHILIPPOT Karine       14:31.4  
    HUGUE Coraline       13:08.1  
    BOURGEOIS Celia       13:10.1  
 10 BELARUS      BLR 56:49.1
    VASILJONOK Olga       15:15.4  
    SANNIKOVA Alena       14:33.9  
    RUDAKOVA Ekaterina       13:38.7  
    LOPATINA Viktoria       13:21.1  
 11 KAZAKHSTAN      KAZ 56:55.7
    ROSHINA Tatjana       15:57.3  
    KOLOMINA Elena       14:47.5  
    MALAHOVA Svetlana       13:12.4  
    JATSKAJA Oxana       12:58.5  
 12 UKRAINE      UKR 57:19.1
    JAKIMCHUK Vita       15:33.0  
    NESTERENKO Lada       15:36.3  
    ANTSYBOR Maryna       13:26.7  
    SHEVCHENKO Valentina       12:43.1  
 13 CZECH REPUBLIC      CZE 57:33.4
    SKALNIKOVA Eva       16:16.7  
    RAJDLOVA Kamila       14:30.9  
    JANECKOVA Ivana       13:26.3  
    ERBENOVA Helena       13:19.5  
 14 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA      USA 57:40.7
    RANDALL Kikkan       14:34.1  
    ARRITOLA Morgan       15:11.3  
    STEPHEN Elizabeth       13:25.2  
    COMPTON Caitlin       14:30.1  
 15 ESTONIA      EST 58:10.0
    UDRAS Kaija       15:12.7  
    OJASTE Triin       15:02.7  
    MANNIMA Tatjana       14:05.9  
    SIRGE Kaili       13:48.7  


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