On a fast 5 k skate course, Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) notched her second victory in Muonio, Finland. The defending Tour de Ski and overall World Cup distance champ cruised over the icy, two-lap course in 10:31, four seconds ahead of a pack of six Finns.
“The route in Muonio was really fast,” said Kowalczyk on her website. “I am satisfied with the result and how the ball [is] rolling for me.”
Norway’s Snorri Einarsson held off Ville Nousiainen and Sami Jauhojaervi (FIN) for an 11-second win in the men’s 10 k, clocking in at 19:38. Tim Reynolds was the top American for the day, finishing a minute behind the winning time in 29th.
“Yesterday’s sprint was a pretty rough way to start the season, so it felt good to bounce back,” said Reynolds of his race. In Friday’s sprint, he was 104th.
The course was essentially the same as yesterday’s sprint, with a few added downhills for recovery each lap. Between junior racers and the open field, over 440 skiers took to the loop and scraped it clean of any man-made sugary snow pretty quickly, which made for squirrely conditions.
Though athletes didn’t have to worry about kick today, Reynolds said they still weren’t able to ski before the race. “We had to run to warm up again, which is a little more awkward for a skate race, but all the guys were in the same boat at least,” he said.
Following Reynolds, who was the first Craftsbury skier to start, was Pat O’Brien in 70th, Dylan McGuffin in 88th and Ethan Dreissigacker in 129th.
Ida Sargent led the American women for the second day in 35th, just over a minute behind Kowalczyk. Hannah Dreissigacker was only four seconds behind her in 44th. Though Sargent wasn’t happy with her day, Dreissigacker said she thought she had a decent race.
“I think I skied a little bit conservatively, and could have gone harder, but I at least felt like I was able to ski fairly well,” said Dreissigacker.
Clare Egan was 12 seconds behind Dreissigacker in 55th, making for a 16-second American spread overall. Place-wise, nearly all of Craftsbury, both men and women, improved over Friday’s sprint.
Tomorrow’s 5/10 k classic is the final day of competition in Muonio.