Kristin Steira (NOR) and Vincent Vittoz (FRA) won the Pursuit races of the Tour de Ski over 5 km C + 5 km F (ladies) and 10 km C + 10 km F (men) in Oberstdorf.
The 25-year-old Steira, who won only one World Cup until now, was fourth after the 5km classics. But she started to attack the three in front of her as soon as they had changed skis. She built up a nine second lead within 2km and eventually crossed the line in 29:27.6, 13.3 seconds ahead of Valentina Shevchenko of Ukraine with Russian Olga Savialova being third. The Olympic champion in the 30km mass start race, Katerina Neumannova, was fourth.
Steira was only 56th in the sprint but takes the leader's golden bib from her team mate Marit Bjoergen by 6.1 seconds. Bjoergen, who won the opening sprint competition in Munich on Sunday, ranked 25th today. But she is still wearing the silver tricot as the Sprint ranking leader of the Tour.
The intermediate sprint at the second lap in classical style on 2.9 km was won by the athlete from Finland Aino Kaisa Saarinen shortly ahead of Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) and Marit Bjoergen (NOR).
Vincent Vittoz celebrated his first Tour de Ski stage victory today. Second was Alexander Legkov from Russia who passed the finish line 0.9 seconds later. Tobias Angerer (GER) who had fallen ranked third.
The winner of Sprint in Munich, Christoph Eigenmann, (SUI) was eliminated after being overlapped.
Oestensen collected 15 bonus seconds at the first intermediate sprint and he now holds the leader's golden bib by 16.4 seconds ahead of Vittoz. Legkov and Angerer are both within 30 seconds behind the youngster Oestensen.
The third races of the Tour de Ski are the Individual competitions in Oberstdorf with the ladies’ 10 km and men’s 15 km in classical technique tomorrow.
Number of participants/ participating nations: 59 ladies, 82 men starting but only 76 finished / 21 nations
Snow Conditions: hard packed variable
Course ladies (classic/free technique): Height difference: 40m/40m; Maximum climb: 35m/35m; Total climb: 174m/156m, Length of lap: 2.5km/2.5km;
Course men (classic/free technique): Height difference: 40m/40m; Maximum climb: 35m/35m; Total climb: 348m/312m, Length of lap: 2.5km/2.5km;
Kristin Steira, NOR (Winner of today’s race and overall Tour Leader)
I felt well and the skies were good. With the starting number 56 I had to use the first round to get to the front. It was lovely being alone at the finish line. I was surprised about the golden bib and I feel happy about it. Maybe Marit will get it back the next days. I’m looking forward to the rest of the tour and the final climb. The Tour is interesting but I think it is sad that it was partly cancelled. We had good skies today.
Marit Bjoergen, NOR (Sprint Ranking Leader)
I was good at the beginning but very tired and stiff. It was very hard for me today. If I had known it before I wouldn’t have done the bonus because it is very hard to sprint in the middle of the race. I chose the wrong tactic today.
Vincent Vittoz, FRA (Winner of today’s race)
Thanks to everybody and all the fans. It was a perfect race and a nice victory.
I like Oberstdorf not at least because after the word championship in 2005 I won for the second time here. This new victory is a fantastic result. The classical style today was very difficult. But everybody had certain problems today. The way to win the Tour is just to have good results all the time. The Russian (Alexander Legkov) made a mistake. I followed him. He hesitated for a second on the last downhill and this was for me the chance to pass him.
Simen Oestensen, NOR (Overall Ranking Leader)
The Race started very good form. The first kilometres in skating were tough. I could recover before I had the ski change. I managed to stay with the leader group. The last 3 kilometres had been very fast, although I tried to stay with the leaders. It was just great when I crossed the finish line. I think I â€˜m a kind of â€˜allrounder’ or I hope so.
Devon Kershaw, CAN (Sprint Ranking Leader)
I am not a sprinter at all. I stayed in the race as best as I could. Munich was a great day. It is very exciting to be at the tour.
Tobias Angerer, GER (Third place in today’s race):
I so happy to have ranked third. For more I didn’t have the energy. It was just fantastic when Axel helped me to get back into the race after I had fallen. We worked together for everybody to see we are a team. Many thanks to our service team. We risked a lot with our waxing skis and this worked out fine for us.
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