Johaug far ahead in World Cup races

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“New Johaug victory,” read the headline on just a short wire story Monday about Norwegian skier Therese Johaug’s many accomplishments since the season began began a few weeks ago. They’re so commonplace that it’s become more newsworthy if Johaug fails to win.

Norwegian skier Therese Johaug has started off this season right where she left off last year, winning by big margins. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

That hasn’t happened yet. The skier, who’s continuing her impressive comeback after being knocked out by use of a lip salve that contained steroids, had 541 points after this weekend’s World Cup competition. The next-best (also a Norwegian skier, Heidi Weng) had just 396, with Jessica Diggins of the US in third place with 345.

Johaug’s latest triumph came in the 10-kilometer free-technique race in Davos on Sunday. She skied the distance in just 25 minutes and 2.7 seconds. Weng placed second at just over five minutes behind Johaug, with Diggins third after another six minutes.

It was Johaug’s fourth victory in a row since the World Cup began in late November. She’s won all her distances by wide margins, from the opening at Ruka in Finland to last week’s competition in Lillehammer. She’s 31 now, but seems stronger and faster than ever.

“I feel like I’m in better shape with every race I go,” Johaug told news bureau NTB after winning in Ruka. That was after the Norwegian team had won another relay, with Heidi Weng, Maiken Caspersen Falla and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen making up the rest of the team. Uhrenholdt, meanwhile, is a medical student on the side of her skiing career, and went directly from her place on the winners’ platform in Finland to an early morning round as an intern in the pediatrics ward at the hospital in Lillehammer.

Johaug and all the others, meanwhile, can concentrate solely on their skiing. Next up are World Cup sprints in Planica this coming weekend, then a short break over the Christmas holidays before the demanding Tour de Ski starts at Lenzerheide in Switzerland on December 27.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund