VAL DI FIEMME, Italy -- Tobias Angerer of Germany and
Katerina Neumannova of the Czech Republic won mass start World Cup
races Saturday, reasserting their status as medal contenders for
the upcoming Torino Games.
World Cup leader Angerer got his fourth win of the season in 1
hour, 14 minutes, 49.3 seconds, edging Russian Evgenji Dementiev
and Italy's Pietro Piller Cottrer in a three-way sprint to the
finish line in the men's 30-kilometer freestyle race.
Angerer has 585 points, 130 ahead of Tore Arne Hetland of
Neumannova captured the women's 15-kilometer freestyle with a
solo finish in 40:51 for her third win of the season and 17th World
Cup triumph. She beat Julija Tchepalova of Russia by 13.9 seconds
and Norway's Marit Bjoergen by 22.9 seconds.
The Czech will be aiming for three Olympic gold medals next
month, after taking two silvers at Salt Lake City four years ago.
Bjoergen's third place kept her atop the World Cup standings
with 645 points after 13 races. Tchepalova is second with 540,
Germany's Claudia Kuenzel is third with 417 and Neumannova moved to
fourth with 390.
Beckie Scott of Canada and Estonia's Kristina Smigun, who are
among the favorites for Olympic cross country medals, did not
compete at Val di Fiemme. The two-day Italian meet continues with
relay events on Sunday.
Also Saturday, the Swiss skiing federation announced that cross
country skier Reto Burgermeister was suspended five days for having
elevated hemoglobin levels. He was tested Friday after training in
Val di Fiemme.
Swiss team doctor Beat Villiger said there could be many reasons
for the elevated hemoglobin levels and that Burgermeister was
scheduled to undergo tests in Davos, Switzerland.