Cottrer, Smigun Win World Cup Opener in Cross-Country Skiing


BEITOSTOLEN, Norway Nov. 22, 2003 (AP) -- Italy's Pietro Piller Cottrer and Estonia's Kristina Smigun won opening long-distance events Saturday in World Cup cross-country freestyle races.

Piller Cottrer won at 15 kilometers for his second World Cup win. He was timed in 32 minutes, 59.0 seconds, edging Norway's Tore Ruud Hofstad by four seconds. Germany's Axel Teichmann was third.

Kris Freeman was the top American in 28th place.

Smigun coasted to a 21.3-second victory in the women's 10K. Twice runner-up in the overall standings, she record her eighth World Cup win.

Smigun won in 24:35.7, leading from start to finish. Valentina Shevchenko of Ukraine was second and Claudia Kuenzel of Germany was third.