Norway’s Therese Johaug backed up her superb comeback victory at the Tour de Ski by claiming gold in the women’s 10 kilometres free technique event on the opening day of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Cross-Country World Cup in Nové Město na Moravě, the Czech Republic.
Johaug, winner of three gold medals at last year’s World Championships in Falun, Sweden, led home a Norwegian one-two as she clocked 25min 09.1sec to beat compatriot Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen by 4.6 seconds.
American Jessie Diggins secured her second podium of the season, finishing third as the top three were separated by just 9.3 seconds.
The Norwegian’s success saw her cement her position as the overall World Cup leader on 1484 points, with team-mate Ingvild Flugstad Østberg second on 1,274.
Heidi Weng, also of Norway, is third on 1,090.
“It feels great to come back to the World Cup with a victory,” Johaug, who opted to take a one-week break following her Tour de Ski triumph, said.
“I have recovered very well from the Tour de Ski.
“I am happy that Astrid is on the podium with me.”
The men’s 15km event also provided excitement for the Czech fans as France continued their recent run of dominant performances thanks to Maurice Manificat, winner of the gold medal in 34:04.9.
Overall World Cup leader Martin Johnsrud Sundby claimed the silver medal, though he was 10 seconds adrift of the winning pace, while Russia's Sergey Ustiugov sealed bronze.
Manificat’s victory was his first of the campaign and guided France to their third consecutive podium finish.
“I was focused on this weekend,” he said.
“There are not many 15km free technique in the World Cup calendar.
“I knew Martin was a favourite but I was ready to fight.
“I know that when I am in the best shape I can ski like today.”
Manificat is currently seventh in the overall standings on 560 points, with Sundby the clear leader on 1,502 points.
The event is due to continue tomorrow with the women’s 4x5km relay and the men’s 7.5km relay.