Johan Olsson started new Cross-Country season in the best possible way. Olsson grabbed victory in the opening race over 15 km Free in Sjusjoen.
Olsson dominated the race and won in 32:40.9. Petter Northug had impressive last kilometers and finished second +31.2 sec behind the winner. Surprise of the day is the third place of Roland Clara who stayed behind by +31.4 sec.
Defending World Cup winner Dario Cologna started strong and was in the lead all the way to the 7.5 km. In the second half of the race Cologna fell off the pace and finished on 7th spot. Johan Olsson was after the first intermediate point 7th but was continuously increasing the pace and at 11.5 km he took over the lead. Olsson could increase the margin to +31.2 sec in the finish celebrated his second victory after his success in Davos 2008. Today's win is Olsson's first in free technique.
Italy's Roland Clara is surprise of the day. Clara was fast all the way from the start to the finish and occupied front positions. For fresh married Clara it was personal best and first World Cup. In head to head fight between him and Petter Northug the Norwegian had more left in the tank in last kilometers and edged out the Italian by tiny margin of +0.02 sec to third place.
Swedish youngster Calle Halfvarsson was very active in the whole race and for a long time was holding the fastest time at intermediate points and in the finish. After the strong performance Halfvarsson was the second best Swedish athlete on fourth place.
Johan Olsson (SWE)
I had some luck today. I had really good skis and I had always some good company all the way. I did not expect anything from today. I felt little bit bad yesterday. In the relay we will fight with Norwegians like always. My biggest wish is to stay healthy.
Petter Northug (NOR)
It was tough race today. I had the feeling that it was tough to make a podium. In the last lap I heard it was pretty tight between the racers so I was fighting in every uphill and also on the easy terrain. I tried to give it all towards the end. I’m happy to be second. It was a tough course. You need to work all the way. You also have to be working in the downhills where you can win some seconds. You don’t get so much rest on this track.
Roland Clara (ITA)
It was a perfect race. I did not think I could make it to podium today. But when I started I heard it was good and then I was waiting. I did the same traininglast training as last year. November-December aren’t normally my months but this year it’s little bit different. I hope to continue this way.