La Clusaz (FRA) was the fifth stop on this season’s Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country tour. Heroic efforts by the organizers to prepare the course made the third World Cup weekend there possible; including the season’s first mass start races. Taking her third victory in a row, Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) grew her lead in the overall World Cup to 108 points ahead of Marit Bjoergen (NOR) who skipped this weekend to prepare for the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski as of 29th December. Kuitunen also leads the distance World Cup while Bjoergen is the #1 in the sprint rankings. All in all, there are seven nationalities represented in the current Top Ten, including three Finns. In the ladies’ Nations’ Cup, Norway heads up the ranking ahead of Finland and Germany, who conquered the ladies’ relay on Sunday.
In the men’s mass start race, 2006 World Cup champion Tobias Angerer (GER) prevailed to take his first season victory. In Sunday’s relay, the young Russian team dominated the race, winning by close to 1.5 minutes. In the overall World Cup standings, Eldar Roenning (NOR) — in the lead in all three rankings despite his 51st place on Saturday – now leads by 80 points ahead of teammate Tor Arne Hetland. Since there are six Norwegians in the Top 12 it is no wonder Norway currently has almost twice as many men’s Nations’ Cup points as 2nd-ranked Germany.