After Norwegian women won all top three spots at the latest World Cup race in Falun, Sweden over the weekend, speculation was flying once again that they’ll also do well at the World Championships even without doping-charged Therese Johaug on the team. Hopes were especially high for veteran Marit Bjørgen, who was back on top once again.
Bjørgen, who also did well last weekend before testifying at Johaug’s doping hearing last week, crossed the finish line first in the women’s 15-kilometer classic on Sunday, ahead of Ingvild Flugstad Østberg and Heidi Weng. Weng leads the overall World Cup so far, after 21 of 31 events, but Østberg has said she thinks the 36-year-old Bjørgen will re-emerge as queen of the World Championships given her speed and drive. “When I first have to leave Marius (the baby she had last winter), it’s good to win,” Bjørgen told newspaper Aftenposten. “Then it’s worth it.”
The Norwegian men also did well in Falun on Sunday, with Emil Iversen placing first and Martin Johnsrud Sundby second in their 30-kilometer race. Sundby still leads the overall World Cup as they all prepare for this weekend’s Norwegian Championships at Lygna in Hadeland. King Harald V will be on hand to watch the action.