Skiing - Reigning champion Bjoergen starts new World Cup season in style

Marit Bjoergen laid down an impressive marker of what might be to come once again in the new cross-country skiing World Cup season after cruising to victory in the opening race in Gaellivare.

Eurosport
Skiing - Reigning champion Bjoergen starts new World Cup season in style
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Marit Bjoergen Falun 2012 NOT IN ITA

The 32-year-old triple Olympic champion took the overall World Cup title for the first time in six years last season and began her defence by winning the 10km individual freestyle event.Bjoergen, who won her first overall World Cup title in 2005 before retaining it a year later, never looked trouble despite significant snowfall in Sweden to post a time of 22:31.8minutes.That saw Bjoergen her home in first by almost 13 seconds ahead of Norwegian teammate Therese Johaug and also marked the 56th World Cup victory of her career.American Kikkan Randall denied the home crowd a podium finish in Gaellivare by taking third by exactly a second over Charlotte Kalla but she was almost 26 behind winner Bjoergen.Meanwhile Justyna Kowalczyk, who won the overall World Cup title for three successive years before being stripped by Bjoergen last season, got off to the worst possible start.The Polish skier disappeared at the 2.3km mark, when 20 seconds down on Bjoergen, and was to finish 27th overall almost a minute and half behind the Norwegian winner.

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