OBERSTDORF, Germany, 20 February 2005 — Julija Tchepalova of Russia shook off the disappointment of Thursday to capture her first career title at the Nordic skiing world championships, in the 2x7.5-kilometers double pursuit yesterday.
By doing so, she completed her medal collection at major championships.
Tchepalova, 28, left Norwegian World Cup leader Marit Bjoergen behind on a climb at the 10km mark to win in 42 minutes 16.8 seconds.
Bjoergen added silver to her 10km bronze, 15.7 seconds behind Tchepalova. Norway also took bronze as youngster Kristin Steira rallied from ninth at the halfway mark to place third with a 25.9-second deficit.
Tchepalova won two days after crying bitter tears when she was beaten by 1.2 seconds for the 10km gold by Czech Katerina Neumannova.
“I was very disappointed about the close decision and my second place. My little daughter and my mother told me (on the phone from Moscow) that I should give it all I have today and finally bring back home a gold from the worlds,” Tchepalova said.
Tchepalova obliged, turning her disappointment into motivation, similar to the 1998 Olympics, when she won the 30km gold after being totally disgusted about not being nominated for the relay team.
Tchepalova ranked third at the pit stop at the halfway mark to change skis for the freestyle section. But she soon caught up with Bjoergen and then made her move at the tough climb with five kilometers left.
“The first lap was very fast, so I was quite tired. But I wanted to attack Marit and luckily made my move at the right time,” said the Russian.
Bjoergen said she was unable to match Tchepalova.
“Things went well for me in the classic portion but I was tired in the freestyle. Julija is in very good form,” the sprint world champion Bjoergen said.
Tchepalova added the gold to her 10km silver and sprint bronze from 2001. She also has won all medals at the Olympics, the 30km gold in 1998 and in 2002 sprint gold, 10km silver and 15km bronze.
Neumannova had to settle for seventh place yesterday while defending champion Kristina Smigun of Estonia retired five kilometers into the race when she was far off the pace.