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Poland celebrating again in Liberec, Kowalczyk takes second gold

28. 02 2009 16:20:00

(Liberec - own) Exactly a week after Justyna Kowalczyk stood on the highest level and took over her first championship title she won convincingly the 30 km free technique Ladies event today. Also the Russian team finally had a slice of the action with Medvedeva coming silver while bronze goes to the Ukraine thanks to Shevchenko. The Czech team didn´t make any surprise and finished in the fourth and fifth tens. Liberec saw another debut: for the first time in the history of Ladies´ marathon change of skis took place on the course.
As in previous races Kowalczyk proved to be a good tactician when she let the Norwegian trio Muranen, Saarinen and Roponen lead the front pack. Without any major changes other athletes changed their places in the leading positions including Johaug and Steira of Norway or Shevchenko of the Ukraine.
The devastating attack by Justyna Kowalczyk came shortly before the finish line as usual. Jevgenie Medvedeva of Russia took silver after a thrilling finish; she was 1.5 seconds faster than Shevchenko of the Ukraine. This is the first time Scandinavian competitors will not go to the winners podium at the Championships in Liberec. So far the excellent and favoured Aino Kaisa Saarinen came only in the 8th place. Another surprise of the race came when the leading world champion Virpi Kuitunen of Finland pulled out of the race. That moment is was already 2 minutes behind the leading competitor.
I´m very tired, it was a hard competition,” said the winner for the Czech television. “In the finish the surge in the final uphill was important. It is an incredible success for the whole Polish skiing,” Kowalczyk commented on her performance in Liberec.
For the first time ever, the spectators could see changing of skis during the marathon. The competitors were allowed to change old skis for a new pair every 7.5 km. Most of them used the opportunity. “I changed my skis twice and I think it helped. The Italians went all the time on one pair and they were fading”, said silver Medvedeva.
Czech athletes didn´t make a breakthrough on Saturday. Helena Erbenova crossed the finish line in the 39th place, almost 7 minutes behind Kowalczyk. For Moravcova it was the first start at the Championships and she finished in the 46th place more than 10 minutes behind the winner. Ivana Janeckova didn´t start in the final discipline due to a muscle injury caused in the team sprint event. 
1. Kowalczyk (Pol.) 1:16:10.6 hours, 2. Medvedeva (Rus.) -8.8, 3. Shevchenko (Ukr.) -9.3, 4. Johaug -9.9, 5. Steira (both Nor.) -11.3, 6. Roponen -12.2, 7. Saarinen (both Fin.) -16.5, 8. Follis -31.1, 9. Longa (both It.) -46.9, 10. Muranen (Fin.) -1:13.5, ...39. Erbenova -6:57.5, 46. Moravcova (both CZE) -10:02.1.
(so; transl. mc)







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