Katerina Neumannova (CZE) and the World Cup leader Tobias Angerer (GER) won the last race before the World Championships in Sapporo, the Individual competition over 10 km (ladies) and 15 km (men) in free technique in Changchun, China.
The favourite Katerina Neumannova held the expectations and took the victory clearly 1:08.5 minute ahead of the French Karine Philippot . On third place finished Svetlana Malahova (KAZ) 1: 30.4 minute behind the winner. Surprisingly the fourth place took in her 7th start in a World Cup competition, the 24-year-old Yuanyuan Liu from China. That was the best result ever for a Chinese Cross-Country skier.
For the Olympic champion Neumannova it was the 18th victory in her career and the second in this season. Karine Philippot could manage in the today’s race her second podium place ever in her career after the third rank in also a 10 km free technique competition in Lahti in 2005. For Malahova it was the first podium place ever in a World Cup race.
In the World Cup ranking, Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) is still leading with 1197 points ahead of Marit Bjoergen (NOR) with 756 points and the Czech Katerina Neumannova with now 702 points. Kuitunen and Bjoergen were not at the start in China.
In the Distance World Cup standing, Virpi Kuitunen is also in the lead with 545 points ahead of Katerina Neumannova (475 points) and Riitta Liisa Roponen (279 points).
In the men’s race the German Tour de Ski winner Tobias Angerer could celebrate his 9th victory in his career, 9.3 seconds ahead of the World Champion Vincent Vittoz and 11.3 seconds ahead of Emmanuel Jonnier (both France), who managed his second podium in his career after the second place in the 30 km Mass Start race in Rybinsk (RUS) in this season.
With this victory Angerer could extend his lead in the Overall World Cup. He has now 862 points. Alexander Legkov (RUS, 573 points) and Tor Arne Hetland (NOR, 519 points) follows on place 2 and 3.
In the Distance World Cup standing, Tobias Angerer is now also leading with 352 points ahead of Vincent Vittoz (344 points) and Alexander Legkov (253 points)
Number of participants/ participating nations: 29 ladies, 39 men/ 12 nations
Weather: sunny, – 0,5Â°C
Snow Conditions: packed
Course ladies: Height difference: 65m; Maximum climb: 52m; Total climb: 382m, Length of lap: 4.845 km; Laps: 2
Course men: Height difference: 63m; Maximum climb: 56m; Total climb: 580m, Length of lap: 7.516 km; Laps: 2
I felt very good today from the start to the finish. The last three kilometres I could even enjoy the race because I was so clear in front. That was funny. My shape is good – I’m ready for the World Championships. I will now only relax a bit and than it will work well in Sapporo. My daughter, Lucie, will also come and support me. I will start in the Pursuit race and in the individual competition. There are a lot of good athletes that it will be not so easy to win but I will try my best. I have already a medal from the World Championships in Oberstdorf, so it is not a such a big â€˜must’ to win a medal.
Katerine Philippot (FRA):
I trained a lot to improve my technique in skating in the last week. I’m very satisfied about my podium place today, it was not expected. The course here in Changchun is normally not made for me — there are to less steep uphills – and also the travel made me a little bit tired. I hope I continue with such good results in Sapporo where I will compete in the Distance races and the Team Sprint.
Svetlana Mahalova (KAZ)
I’m very happy about my today’s race. It is my best result ever. I was surprised when I’m realized that I will be on the podium and had such persons behind me like Sachenbacher-Stehle. Now the World Championships could start!.
Tobias Angerer (GER)
It was a good race today but with a victory you could be every time very satisfied. After two weeks training I didn’t really know where I am in the moment with my shape but now I get the answer — my shape is ready for the World Championships. In Sapporo I would give my best. Until know not all is clear in which race I will start.
Vincent Vittoz (FRA)
It was a tough race today for me. To ski on this snow it is not so easy but my feeling was good after the training in the high altitude in Livigno (ITA) in the last week. Really nice is, that I was today not the only French guy on the podium — I’m happy that I could share my pleasure with my team mate. Now, I will try to keep my shape which I had here and also in Davos, where I took the victory, to Sapporo for the World Championships.
Emmanuel Jonnier, (FRA)
I’m satisfied to manage my second podium place in this season. It was a good training here for the World Championships. I like this course in Changchun — they are pretty nice. But it is not so easy to ski on this snow. I had made now special preparation for the World Championships but my shape is good for it and my mind too. Hopefully I will have still my good shape there and than we will see the results.