Tobias Angerer produced a powerhouse finish to claim victory in a punishing 30km mass start race in free technique at La Clusaz. The German edged out Alexander Legkov (0,6 seconds behind) and Evgenij Dementiev (0,8 seconds behind), both from Russia, in a thrilling finish.
There was no joy for biathlon specialist Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, who has already won a World Cup cross-country race this season, as the Norwegian legend trailed in 16th.
The local hero, Vincent Vittoz, was at the beginning the whole time in the top three but then he was getting tired and let the over go forward.
Devon Kershaw of Canada was 22nd, and George Grey was 37th.
For Angerer, who won last year the overall World Cup, it was the seventh victory in an individual race. The 23-year old Legkov could manage in this race his first podium place ever and his team-mate and Olympic Champion Evgenij Dementiev could manage his second podium place in this week after the third place in Cogne (ITA) at Wednesday.
Eldar Roenning (NOR), who finished today on place 51st with 4:22 minutes behind the winner, is still in the lead of the overall World Cup ranking. His team-mate Tor Arne Hetland is 80 points behind on the second place and on the third place is now Tobias Angerer, 130 points behind Roenning.
In the Distance World Cup Roenning is in the lead with 200 points, followed by Anders Soedergren from Sweden (155 points) and Tobias Angerer (152 points).
Number of participants/ participating nations: 87 competitors from 23 nation
Number of Media/TV on site and HBC: 50 Media/ 6 TV/ HBC: Media Partners
Weather: sunny, 1 Â°C
Snow Conditions: compact
Special Remarks: Due to the mild weather only 2,5 km course
Tobias Angerer (GER): â€œIt was a fantastic race. In the first round I had very good skis and I felt good. In the last two kilometres I saw my chance to attack. Bjoerndalen was very strong at the first 20 km and than I concentrated on my race. It was very important for our team that we could manage a victory. The atmosphere in La Clusaz was perfect — I said it two Vincent after the race. It is a great feeling to ski here with so many spectators and we enjoy it. It was a very tough course, long uphill’s and everyone was tired at the end.
Alexander Legkov (RUS): â€œThat is my first podium place an individual competition. I’m very happy but I think I could do even better. I don’t want to stop here. I had only one tactic, I was always on the second or third position and I didn’t want to loose it. My coach supporting me all the way. My only goals are the Championships in Sapporo and the Tour de Ski. I want to have the best results. I like the idea of the Tour de Ski a lot. It is a very spectacular competition and the spectators will be very satisfied about it.â€
Evgenij Dementiev (RUS): â€œI’m very happy to be third. During all the competition I was pretty sure that I will arrive in the top ten. It is my second time in La Clusaz and I enjoy the atmosphere. I would like to try to reach the highest level in Cross-Country Sport.â€