The final leg onto the Alpe Cermis put a lot of strain on the athletes. The tour leader Justina Kowalczyk was challenged in the women’s race. In the hunting race, Marit Björgen caught up on her 13 seconds deficit and closed the gap on the Polish skier before the 3.5 km long final climb. Kowalczyk however proved invincible in the narrow turns and took home her third tour victory thanks to her strong forces. Third place went to Therese Johaug who won with the fastest running time.
The biathlon stronghold at the Rennsteig welcomed athletes and fans last Monday with unbelievable weather conditions. Hardly anyone still believed in a normal tournment and some even questioned its holding. Constant rain and a temperature around + 8° C reminded of the competitions in 2007 when the athletes had to compete on crash ice that had been delivered from Bremerhaven. The hard-working helpers managed incredibly well and prepared quite an agreeable piste for the relay competitions on Wednesday and Thursday. In the women’s competition, the Russian quartet won before Norway and France.
The Swiss Weeks of the Alpine Ski Circus have started with exciting races. The host had a lot of work especially with the snow and rain. Thanks to the great efforts of volunteers, army and civil defence, the slope could be prepared for the race.
The difficult slope of the giant slalom proved to be a great challenge for the skiers. The huge audience (29000) celebrated an exciting race with an Austrian double.
The last races of the Tour de Ski take place in Val die Fiemme. The 20 km mass start race today proved to be a very hard test. 5 rounds had to be completed with bonus seconds being awarded at the highest point of the leg. As a result, the pace was very fast from the beginning. Consequently, Manificat (FRA) and Legkov (RUS) lost touch with the leading skiers and thus the opportunity to claim a podium place in the overall result.
The lead was controlled by Cologna (SUI) who even managed to gain a few seconds from his direct opponent Northug (NOR).
The 7th stage of the Tour de Ski from Cortina to Toblach went differently than expected. The tourleaders Dario Cologna and Petter Northug wanted to work together for the pursuit race and keep their pursuers at a distance. However, having quickly reached Cologna, Northug could not keep up and fell back. Cologna started racing away on his own. The first group of pursuers consisted now of Alexander Legkov and Northug. The second group was led by the Swede Marcus Hellner with the fast Canadian Devon Kershaw and Maurice Manificat from France.
The 5th of 9 races of the Tour de Ski was held in Toblach (South Tyrol). The women held a short distance race of 3 km, the men of 5 km against time. In the men’s race, Alexander Legkov (RUS) emphasized his ambitions and proved worthy to be counted as a favourite. He gets better with every race and won his first race in this tour. Eldar Roenning (NOR), traditional style specialist, reached second place before Dario Cologna (SUI) who took over the jersey for the general leading position from Petter Northug (NOR).
The men Skiworldcup Opening on the Rettenbachferner Glacier was a big success as well. Snow conditions were perfect and the weather fantastic. The GS slope was top prepared: hard, partly icy, good grip. A big accolade to the organisers!