FILE UNDER -- Nordic

Hofstad wins 15km race; Swenson finishes strong for U.S.

Hofstad wins 15km race; Swenson finishes strong for U.S.{mosimage}KUUSAMO, Finland – American Carl Swenson completed the best World Cup weekend of his career Sunday, finishing 12th in a 15-kilometer freestyle race won by Norway’s Tore Ruud Hofstad.

Hofstad led all the way for the first World Cup win of his career in 34 minutes, 16.7 seconds, with Vincent Vittoz of France a stride back at 34:17.5.

Swenson, the two-time Olympian and former Dartmouth ski captain who was 11th Saturday in a 15km classic race, finished with a time of 34:52.7.

Sidelined most of the 2004-05 season with recurring bouts of the flu, Swenson trained with ski team approval on his own in Norway much of the preseason. He rejoins the U.S. squad this week in Canada for World Cup races Dec. 10-11 at Sovereign Lake in Vernon, B.C., and Dec. 15-18 at Canmore, cross-country venue for the 1988 Olympics.

In the women’s 10km, Katerina Neumannova of the Czech Republic won, ending the unbeaten streak of defending World Cup champion Marit Bjoergen, who was fourth. No U.S. women competed.

Neumannova finished in 29 minutes, 49.4 seconds. Bjoergen, who won the season’s first three World Cup races, finished fourth, beaten also by Julia Tchepalova of Russia and Estonia’s Kristina Smigun.

Neumannova won two 10km freestyle World Cup races last season.

”It’s a pity that the 10K freestyle is not an Olympic event in Turin”, she said.

Bjoergen, the defending World Cup overall champion, held her standings lead with 350 points ahead of Virpi Kuitunen of Finland on 208 and Neumannova, who moved up to third with 190 points.

Norway’s Tor Arne Hetland stayed atop the men’ standings despite placing 10th Sunday. He has 235 points, followed by Tobias Angerer, who has 196 points, and Jens Arne Svartedal of Norway with 160.

Viesmann Cross-Country World Cup
Nordic Opening
Kuusamo, Finland – Nov. 27, 2005

15km freestyle

1. Tore Ruud Hofstad, Norway, 34 minutes, 16.7 seconds.
2. Vincent Vittoz, France, 34:17.5.
3. Tobias Angerer, Germany, 34:28.1.
4. Pietro Piller Cottrer, Italy, 34:29.0.
5. Jiri Magal, Czech Republic, 34:34.2.
6. Emmanuel Jonnier, France, 34:38.3.
7. Markus Hasler, Liechtenstein, 34:39.7.
8. Teemu Kattilakoski, Finland, 34:40.4.
9. John Anders Gaustad, Norway, 34:41.7.
10. Tor Arne Hetland, Norway, 34:44.5,
11. Vassili Rotshev, Russia, 34:48.6.
12. Carl Swenson, United States, 34:52.7.
13. Geir Ludvig Aasen, Norway, 34:56.4.
14. Andreas Schlutter, Germany, 34:58.5.
15. Sergei Dolidovitsh, Belarus, 34:59.2.

Overall Standings
(After one sprint and three distance races)

1. Tor Arne Hetland, Norway, 235 points.
2. Tobias Angerer, Germany, 196.
3. Jens Arne Svartedal, Norway, 160.
4. Vincent Vittoz, France, 130.
5. Tore Ruud Hofstad, Norway, 100.
6. Peter Larsson, Sweden, 100.
7. Eldar Ronning, Norway, 99.
8. Vassili Rotshev, Russia, 96.
9. Sami Jauhojarvi, Finland 90.
10. Andrus Veerpalu, Estonia, 67.

10km freestyle

1. Katerina Neumannova, Czech Republic, 24:49.4.
2. Julia Tchepalova, Russia, 25:10.7.
3. Kristina Smigun, Estonia, 25:15.7.
4. Marit Bjoergen, Norway, 25:20.2.
5. Claudia Kuenzel, Germany, 25:36.2.
6. Petra Majdic, Slovenia, 25:39.3.
7. Hilde G. Pedersen, Norway, 25:41.6.
8. Evi Sachenbacher Stehle, Germany, 25:45.1.
9. Evgenia Medvedeva, Russia, 25:48.4.
10. Valentina Shevchenko, Russia, 25:50.3.
11. Gabriella Paruzzi, Italy, 26:06.4.
12. Karine Philippot, France, 26:08.8.
13. Irina Artemova, Russia, 26:11.6
14. Vibeke W. Skofterud, Norway, 26:14.8.
15. Svetlana Malahova-Shishkina, Kazakstan, 26:15.8.

Overall Standings
(After one sprint and three distance races)

1. Marit Bjoergen, Norway, 350 points.
2. Virpi Kuitunen, Finland, 208.
3. Katarina Neumannova, Czech Republic, 190.
4. Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, Finland, 160.
5. Claudia Kuenzel, Germany, 155.
6. Julia Tchepalova, Russia, 141.
7. Kristina Smigun, Estonia, 134.
8. Hilde G. Pedersen, Norway, 132.
9. Petra Majdic, Slovenia, 113.
10. Evi Sachenbacher Stehle, Germany, 95.

– The Associated Press/USSA

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