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Bjoergen edges Scott for overall World Cup title

SAPPORO, Japan -- Canada's Beckie Scott put the finishing
touches on her impressive career Sunday by winning the final World
Cup cross country event of the season.

Now she plans to celebrate with some sushi and a little partying
in Sapporo.

Scott, who said before Sunday's race she will retire after this
season, edged Norway's Kristen Steira in a women's 2x7.5-kilometer
pursuit race, crossing the finish line with a time of 45 minutes,
35.0 seconds, 1.8 seconds ahead of Steira. Germany's Evi
Sachenbacher Stehle was third with a time of 46:04.9.

In the men's 2x15km pursuit, Sweden's Mathias Fredriksson
clocked a time of 1:16:45.4 to finish first, 3.8 seconds ahead of
Norway's Petter Northug. Sweden's Anders Soedergren was third in
1:16:49.5.

The men's overall title has already been decided. Germany's
Tobias Angerer, who finished 11th in Sunday's race, was the overall
winner with 829 points.

"I'm ready for some sushi and then a party," Scott said after
Sunday's win at the Shirahatayama course. "This is the way I
wanted to finish. It was important for me to finish on top."

Scott barely missed out on winning the overall World Cup title
in the final event of the season.

Norway's Marit Bjoergen finished fourth to hold on to the title.
Only 66 points separated Scott and Bjoergen heading into Sunday's
race and Scott needed to win the pursuit and for Bjoergen to finish
no higher than eighth.

Defending champion Bjoergen finishes the season with 1,036
points. Scott was second with 1,020 points.

"I'm very happy with the victory, I was hoping to win today's
race," Scott said. "But it's a bit sad to say goodbye. I would
have liked the World title but I did all I could today and during
the season."

Scott overtook Bjoergen midway through the first half of the
15-kilometer race then held off a determined Steira over the last
three kilometers.

Steira passed Scott on the last lap but Scott made up ground on
the final downhill and came into the stadium neck and neck with the
Norwegian.

"I knew if I stayed close to Kristin that I would have a good
chance," added Scott. "We went into the stadium very close and
fortunately I had enough left for a final sprint."

Scott, who shared the silver medal with Sara Renner in the team
sprint at the Turin Games, was a gold medalist in the 5km pursuit
at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, a win she called the highlight of
her career.

She originally finished third in Salt Lake City but was awarded
the gold after the two athletes who finished ahead of her lost
their medals for doping violations.

Scott, who competed in three Olympics for Canada, said she
pretty much knew at the start of the season that this would be her
final campaign.

"I pretty much knew at the start," said Scott. "Then as the
season went on I became more certain. There is a lot of traveling
involved and it's a bit of a tough life."

Scott won four World Cup titles this season, including two on
home snow in Vernon, British Columbia, in December and then a week
later in Canmore, Alberta.