VAL DI FIEMME, Italy (AP) — Marit Bjoergen successfully defended another title at the Nordic skiing world championships as she won the 15-kilometer pursuit skiathlon on Saturday, with Norway claiming the top four spots.
Bjoergen sped clear of Therese Johaug coming into the stadium to cross the line in 39 minutes, 4.4 seconds. Johaug was 3.4 seconds back to take silver, while Heidi Weng beat Kristin Stoermer Steira in a sprint for the bronze medal, finishing 14.9 seconds behind Bjoergen.
"I'm really happy for myself and for Norway, even if maybe it isn't very good for the sport for us to dominate so much," Bjoergen said. "But we're a very strong team and each one encourages the other and pushes them on."
Bjoergen, a triple Olympic champion, won her third individual sprint world title on Thursday. This was her 10th world title overall. Bjoergen is just four victories away from Yelena Valbe's record of 14 world championship victories.
The four Norwegians broke clear during the freestyle portion of the race, with Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk the only skier who kept up. However, Kowalczyk dropped off near the end as Bjoergen and Johaug turned it into a two-way race.
It was more disappointment for Kowalczyk , who crashed in the sprint on Thursday. Bjoergen, who won four golds two years ago, has decided not to race in Sunday's relay, preferring to focus on Tuesday's 10K free and the individual 30K classic in a week.