CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING FLIES HIGH ON MOUNT CERMIS
KUITUNEN AND ANGERER AT THE TOP OF THE TOUR DE SKI
The final climb to Mount Cermis crowned the German and the Finn, who made the difference in the Italian stages and were able to win the new cross-country skiing challenge launched by the International Ski Federation and were awarded a considerable jackpot (the amount won by the two athletes is approximately 150.000 Euro).
The German â€œtankâ€ started his performance from the world championships stadium of Val di Fiemme with a 38â€ lead over Norwegian Oestensen, who was able to close the gap in the stretch going from Lago di Tesero to the foot of the climb to Mount Cermis. Was Angerer in difficulty? Not in the least. The German adopted a clear strategy, well aware that he could make the difference on the demanding ascent to Mount Cermis.
The two started the climb together, followed by Northug in good shape, who gave everything in the attempt of closing the gap (he ended fourth). The competition was followed by a huge crowd of people, with 12,000 people along the Olympia III track.
The decisive action was launched at km 9, when Angerer left the Norwegian behind him and cruised towards a real triumph. The action of the German skier was impressive and he constantly increased his lead, leaving no hope for his rival.
Oestensen was not able to answer and faced a moment of great difficulty when pursuers dangerously approached. He was eventually edged out by Russian Legkov over the closing few metres followed by Northug. A sprint comparable to those of Petacchi!
The best performance of the day was that of Russian Sergej Shiriaev, who therefore won the leg, followed by his team-mate Legkov and by Giorgio Di Centa, the best of the Italians (20th in the overall standings), whose performance was really good.
Among women, the victory went to Finland with Virpi Kuitunen, who dominated the competition. The Scandinavian skier was always in the lead and made a very clever race, without risking and preserving her strength. This strategy led her to win with a 1’11â€ lead over Norwegian Marit Bjoergen, second, who brilliantly recovered in the final part of the climb.
Kuitunen started immediately well and kept her team-mate Saarinen and Bjoergen behind, with a 20â€ lead at the beginning of the ascent. The two were followed by a group, including Skofterud, Majdic, Sachenbacher and Shevchenko.
Kuitunen solitarily crossed the finish line on Mount Cermis, but the sprint for the second place was extremely exciting. Finnish Saarinen (who was second until then) gave way and Bjoergen and Shevchenko overtook her.
The sprint was won by the Norwegian, who ended second followed by Shevchenko and Saarinen. Czech Neumannova grabbed the fifth place and ended with the best time of the day, thus winning the leg.
The image of the finish line was really impressive, with skiers (exhausted) who fell one on the other just past the line.
Angerer and Kuitunen were the heroes of the day, but what an exciting show took place on Mount Cermis and Val di Fiemme!
WOMEN'S FINAL STANDINGS: http://www.tour-de-ski.com/fr/dynamic/results.html?sector=CC&raceid=12585
MEN'S FINAL STANDINGS: http://www.tour-de-ski.com/fr/dynamic/results.html?sector=CC&raceid=12586
Results – Men
1) Angerer Tobias (GER) 33:39.5; 2) Legkov Alexander (RUS) 34:25.8; 3) Oestensen Simen (NOR) 34:29.5; 4) Northug Petter (NOR) 34:46.1; 5) Hetland Tor Arne (NOR) 34:49.1; 6) Goering Franz (GER) 34:58.4; 7) Jauhojaervi Sami (FIN) 35:03.9; 8) Dementiev Evgenji (RUS) 35:11.6; 9) Filbrich Jens (GER) 35:13.6; 10) Pankratov Nikolai (RUS) 35:25.5
Results – Ladies
1) Kuitunen Virpi (FIN) 36:36.7; 2) Bjoergen Marit (NOR) 37:54.4; 3) Shevchenko Valentina (UKR) 37:57.2; 4) Saarinen Aino Kaisa (FIN) 37:59.0; 5) Neumannova Katerina (CZE) 38:01.0; 6) Majdic Petra (SLO) 38:28.4; 7) Steira Kristin (NOR) 38:30.3; 8) Sachenbacher Stehle Evi (GER) 38:35.4; 9) Skofterud Vibeke W. (NOR) 39:00.7; 10) Bauer Viola (GER) 39:18.8