First victory for Roponen and Legkov
Riitta Liisa Roponen from Finland and the Russian Alexander Legkov take the victory in Rybinsk in the mass start races over 15 km (ladies) and 30 km (men) in free technique.
For Roponen it was the first World Cup victory and her second podium place in this season after her successful second place in the World Cup race over the same distance and the same technique in La Clusaz (FRA). The second place took Katerina Neumannova (CZE) only 1.4 seconds behind Roponen. Another athlete from Finland, Aino-Kaisa Saarinen finished third, 10.4 seconds behind the winner.
In the overall World Cup ranking, Virpi Kuitunen is still in lead with 867 points ahead of Marit Bjoergen (NOR; 634 points), who was not competing the today’s race because she take part at the Norwegian Championships. On third place is Katerina Neumannova. In the Distance World Cup, Kuitunen is also in the lead with 365 points ahead of Katerina Neumannova (CZE; 325 points), and on the third place is the winner of the today’s race Riitta Liisa Roponen with 263 points.
For the Russian Alexander Legkov, the second of the Tour de Ski, it was the first World Cup victory. He finished in the finish sprint shortly 0,5 seconds ahead of Emmanuel Jonnier from France. The World Cup leader and winner of the first Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski, Tobias Angerer (GER), took the third place, 1,1 second behind Legkov. During the men’s race is was sometimes snowing quite heavy what makes not easy conditions.
Tobias Angerer is clearly with 662 points in the lead in the overall World Cup. On second place follows Alexander Legkov with 567 points and the third is Tor Arne Hetland (NOR), who was not competing in the today’s race. The Distance World Cup is leading by Legkov (247points) ahead of Angerer (212 points) and the Norwegian Eldar Roenning (200 points).
The people from Rybinsk made a great effort to host this World Cup. Together with about 2.000 volunteers the Organizing Committee prepared the 2,5 km course with ice blocks from the Volga and took some snow over it. Despite of the very bad weather situation with a lot of rain in the last days they were able to prepare the course in a good way.
Number of participants/ participating nations: 28 ladies, 36 men / 9 nations
Weather: cloudy, snowfall in the men’s race, -1Â°C
Snow Conditions: wet, icy
Course ladies: Height difference: 35m; Maximum climb: 31m; Total climb: 456m, Length of lap: 2.5km;
Course ladies: Height difference: 35m; Maximum climb: 31m; Total climb: 912m, Length of lap: 2.5km;
Riitta Liisa Roponen (FIN): â€œIt was a very good day for me. On the last lap in the uphill, I was thinking that now I have to going for the victory and started my attack. It is my first World Cup victory and I’m very happy. My skies were also very good prepared and the Organizing Committee did there best to prepare the track in a good way.â€
Katerina Neumannova (CZE): â€After my health problems at the end of the last year and the beginning of the new year during the Tour de Ski I felt now very good. I was skiing behind the leader of the races but I wouldn’t ski in front. At the end Riitta Liisa was too strong and I lost some meters. But for sure I’m satisfied with my race. It is nice here in Russia. I took part now for the first time in a World Cup race in Russia. Everything is arranged for us, even if not all is perfect they try here there best and are always very friendly!â€
Aino-Kaisa Saarinen (FIN): â€œIt was a relaxed and a very good race for me. In the last lap the gap between the two girls in front, Riitta Liisa and Katerina, was at the end too big to close but I’m satisfied that I could reach the podium in the today’s race. It is the first time that I reached the podium in a distance race in free technique, normally I’m stronger in classic style.â€
Alexander Legkov (RUS): â€œ I felt not so good in the last day’s. I had some problems with the back. Finally, it was a good decision to start here in front of so many fantastic spectators. During the last downhill after my attack, I was waiting for an athlete who will â€˜catch’ me, but nobody was coming. So now I’m happy that I could realize a World Cup victory and specially a World Cup victory in Russia. â€
Emmanuel Jonnier (FRA):â€The course was not easy today. It was snowing quite heavy during the race. But I’m very satisfied about my first podium place. The problems in the morning with the travel from Rybinsk to the ski stadium didn’t influence me and it was for all the same.â€
Tobias Angerer (GER): â€œIn the beginning of the race I was tried but than I found my rhythm. My ski’s were good and I could follow the leading group. Because of a traffic jam we (the men’s athletes from Russia, Germany and France) had to walk the last 4 kilometres from Rybinsk to the stadium. That was my warming up. The Russians did a great job here in the stadium, we are happy that we could ski on such a place and hopefully we will coming back next year for another World Cup race.