Arianna Follis and Renato Pasini (both Italy) took the victory in today’s free style Sprint in Rybinsk (RUS).
Follis took her first World Cup victory in this season in a great atmosphere on the discerning course of Demino Ski Center, ahead of Claudia Kuenzel-Nystad (GER) and Kikkan Randall from USA. On fourth place finished the current World Cup leader Virpi Kuitunen (FIN). Also in the final: the home favourite Natalia Matveeva (5th place, RUS) and the Czech Katerina Neumannova (CZE).
For Claudia Kuenzel-Nystad it was the first podium place in this season. Kikkan Randall could celebrate today her first podium place ever in her career and it was also the first podium place for US-Team in this season.
Kuitunen is clearly in the lead of the overall World Cup with 917 points ahead of Marit Bjoergen (634 points, NOR), who didn’t compete in today’s race. On third place is Katerina Neumannova with 552 points.
In the Sprint World Cup ranking Marit Bjoergen (160 points) is still in the lead, followed now by the today’s winner Arianna Follis (158 points) and Virpi Kuitunen (152 points).
In the men’s race, the 29-year-old Renato Pasini could make the Italian success complete and took his World Cup victory, narrowly ahead of the home favourite Nikolai Pankratov (RUS) and the World Cup leader Tobias Angerer (GER). The fourth place took Vassili Rotchev (RUS), Martin Stockinger from Austria finished fifth, and also in the A-Final was John Kristian Dahl (NOR), who felt down in the last downhill.
For Pasini it was not only the first World Cup victory, it was also the first podium place ever in his career. His best results were until now two 7th places in Sprint races in the year 2004 (Val di Fiemme and Lahti). Nikolai Pankratov could celebrate in front of the Russian spectators his second podium place after a second place in 2004.
In the overall World Cup ranking, Tobias Angerer is still in the lead with 722 points ahead of Alexander Legkov (RUS, 567 points). On third place is Tor Arne Hetland (NOR, 448 points), who took today the 15th place.
The Sprint World Cup is leading now by Tor Arne Hetland (136 points) who overtook the red bib from his team mate and second of the Sprint World Cup ranking, Eldar Roenning (132 points) followed by Renato Pasini (126 points).
Number of participants/ participating nations: 35 ladies, 44 men/ 13 nations
Weather: cloudy, -6Â°C
Snow Conditions: hard packed
Special remarks: The tracks at the Demino Ski Center in Rybinsk were prepared by 8000mÂ³ of ice and 3000 mÂ³ of snow!
Course: Height difference: 27m; Maximum climb: 27m; Total climb: 35m, Length of laps: 1265m;
Arianna Follis (ITA): â€œI’m very happy about the double victory in our team. My race was good and I like this selective course. I like also the Russian spectators — it is a great feeling here in the stadium. Now I will move to Livigno (ITA) and make a training session for two weeks that I’m will be prepared for the World Championships in Sapporo. There I will be on start at the 10 km free style race.â€
Claudia Kuenzel-Nystad (GER): â€œIt was very could and I frozen at the start of the last heats. But maybe that was good because I didn’t realize my hurts from the yesterday’s fall. The crowd here is unbelievable — the Russians are a fantastic audience.â€
Kikkan Randall (USA): â€œI’m very happy about my today’s race. The Russians support us very much and that helps me a lot. From my point of view I had a good qualification time and so I try to repeat that but finally my result was better — I’m very satisfied.â€
Renato Pasini (ITA): â€œWhen I arrived here in Rybinsk and saw for the first time the conditions I was wondering where we could ski. But the Russian’s did a great and unbelievable job. A big â€œThank youâ€ to the Organizer. In the semi final I was in front on the last uphill and two athletes pass me than on the downhill and the finish straight. So than I changed my tactic and try to be not in front on the top of the uphill and my tactic was successful. I’m more than happy about my victory and I think from now I will love Russia and Rybinsk forever. Many thanks also to the audience for the big support of each athlete!â€
Nikolai Pankratov (RUS): â€œTo be second here in Russia that is a very nice thing. Everybody support me and also the other athletes — it was a great feeling to ski. My next goals are for sure the World Championships in Sapporo. I could compete in all kind of races but I have to show my shape and the coaches will decide than at which competition I will be on the start.â€
Tobias Angerer (GER): â€œThe prologue was for me today the toughest. I had arching muscles from yesterday. After the felt down of Dahl I hadn’t any change to fight for the victory but I gave my best and finally I reached the podium. Many thanks to the audience — it was great here in Rybinsk.
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