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    Sunday, January 4, 1998

    Tschepalova wins Nordic World Cup race at home

     KAVGOLOVO, Russia (AP) -- Julia Tschepalova battled heavy snow and stiff competition from Olympic and World champions Sunday to place first at the Nordic World cup cross country ski race in Kavgolovo, Russia.
     The Russian skier completed the 10-kilometre freestyle race in 26 minutes and 0.5 seconds, despite the heavy snow that fell throughout.
     Stefania Belmondo of Italy, a former Olympic and World champion, was just 2.7 seconds behind, and Russia's Larissa Lazutina trailed 17.6 seconds behind Tschepalova to take third.
     The competition comes just before the Nagano Winter Olympics in February, putting Tschepalova in prime medal contention.
     Italy's Manuela di Centa, a two-time World Cup titlist and winner of five medals in the 1994 Olympics, finished a disappointing seventh, over a minute behind the winner.
     Russia World Cup champ Elena Vialbe was just ahead of her in sixth place with a time of 26:49:05.
     
     
     Nordic World Cup Results
     KAVGOLOVO, Russia (AP) -- Leading finishers Sunday of a Nordic World Cup cross-country ski races:
     Women
     10km freestyle
     1. Julia Tschepalova, Russia, 26 minutes, 00.5 seconds.
     2. Stefania Belmondo, Italy, 26:03.2.
     3. Larissa Lazutina, Russia, 26:18.1.
     4. Elin Nilsen, Norway, 26:31.5.
     5. Irina Skladneva, Russia, 26:36.4.
     6. Elena Vaelbe, Russia, 26:49.5.
     7. Manuela di Centa, Italy, 27:03.2.
     8. Maria Theurl, Austria, 27:04.6.
     9. Olga Danilova, Russia, 27:07.1.
     10. Natalia Martynova, Russia, 27:07.5.
     World Cup Standings
     (After six events)
     1. Larissa Lazutina, Russia, 333 points.
     2. Bente Martinsen, Norway, 315.
     3. Elena Vaelbe, Russia, 246.
     4. Anita Moen-Guidon, Norway, 245.
     5. Olga Danilova, Russia, 219.
     6. Stefania Belmondo, Italy, 207.
     ------
     Nation's Cup Standings
     Overall
     1. Norway, 3382 points.
     2. Russia, 2555.
     3. Italy, 1810.
     4. Sweden, 1415.
     5. Finland, 914.
     6. Germany, 759.
     Men
     1. Norway, 1986.
     2. Sweden, 1127.
     3. Italy, 916.
     4. Finland, 571.
     5. Austria, 545.
     6. Russia, 437.
     Women
     1. Russia, 2118.
     2. Norway, 1396.
     3. Italy, 894.
     4. France, 447.
     5. Ukraine, 348.
     6. Germany, 345.