Norwegian Bjoergen is timing her charge towards the Crystal Globe to perfection and, prior to lining up in the 30km classic mass start on home soil, claimed back-to-back sprint victories in Lahti and Drammen.
That gave her a 118-point lead over Kowalczyk and she extended it even more in style in Oslo – dominating throughout to cross the finishing line in first, celebrating while doing so, in 1:26:09.8hours.
And, if Bjoergen made certain that there was never a battle for first, Kowalczyk and Johaug ensured there was plenty of drama in the race for silver with the latter chasing down the former.
In a near repeat of yesterday’s men’s 50km classic mass start that saw Eldar Roenning pip Dario Cologna at the line to win gold, Kowalczyk and Johaug were neck and neck in the dying metres.
Kowalcyzk just had enough to ensure only minimal ground was lost to Bjoergen – finishing 51.9seconds behind her and just 1.4 ahead of Johaug – while Kristin Stoermer Steira was well back in fourth.