Joergen Nordhagen wins gold in Planica

After the sprint events, today cross-country skiers battled for the first medals at the 47th FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in Planica in distance races. Norwegian Joergen Nordhagen delivered an outstanding performance on the 20 km course with a mass start, while among the women, Italian Maria Gismondi emerged victorious. Slovenian Živa Melihen crossed the finish line as well.



At the 47th FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in Planica, young cross-country skiers competed in a 20 km race with a mass start in the freestyle technique. After the first lap of 3.3 km, more than 30 skiers were in the lead, but unfortunately, Slovenians Živa Melihen and Tinkara Gros were not among them. Gros was caught by the fastest skiers just before the final lap, ending the race prematurely in 56th place, while Melihen finished 50th, trailing by nine minutes. Italy's Maria Gismondi claimed the title with a solo effort in the last two laps, followed by Norway's Anniken Sand, who trailed by 12 seconds. Hungary's Gina Del Rio secured bronze, trailing by 21 seconds.

Top3 after the cross - country 20 km race Photo: Borut Živulovič/BOBO


In the men's event, Norway's Joergen Nordhagen displayed a fantastic performance, breaking away from his competitors by a minute in the third lap and then maintaining his lead throughout the race, winning with a remarkable lead of 2 minutes and 11 seconds! Italy took silver and bronze, with Aksel Artusi beating compatriot Davide Ghia by four seconds. Due to Nordhagen's outstanding performance, Slovenian competitors ended the race shortly after the halfway point. Jaka Marinko finished in 61st place, Tine Šporn in 62nd, and Philip Yazbeck Lavrič Pregelj in 67th. Nordhagen lapped 42 out of 99 competitors.

Winner of the men's cross - country 20 km race Joergen Nordhagen Photo: Borut Živulovič/BOBO


Post-race statements:


Joergen Nordhagen: "It was a big dream to win this race. With all the preparations and hard work I put into it, I am very pleased with how it finished. I am a light skier and like to compete in conditions like this. It was very warm and this hard race was perfect for me."


Živa Melihen: "I am very tired, but also very happy to have reached the finish. The skis were fast today, allowing me to catch up with other competitors on the descents."


Eva Sever Rus, coach of the junior national team: "The goal was to have four girls starting today. However, we decided to have only two competitors, as the others were not completely healthy. Živa and Tinkara had some bad luck with high starting numbers. They fought until the end, but it would have been difficult to achieve more with such high starting numbers and soft snow conditions."

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