Editor's Note: Since the original publication of this article, we have learned that highly variable weather conditions had an effect on the race. You can read more about Kris Freeman's race and wax – Bad Wax Day For Freeman. Apparently the other American skiers had icing problems.
Freeman started slowly – standing in 25th after the first 5km lap. But unlike last week in Kuusamo where he accelerated through the second half of the race on his way to a 5th place finish, Freeman fell further and further off the pace, passing the 10km mark in 40th before crossing the line in 50th.
Axel Teichmann (GER) won his second World Cup race of the season with a strong last 5km – putting 20 seconds on Norway's Odd-Bjorn Hjelemeset over that distance. Hjelemeset, known as a classic specialist, finished 8.8 seconds back in second, with Sami Jauhojaervi of Finland matching his carear-best World Cup finish in third. Jauhojaervi was also third in the 30km classic in Cavalese, Italy during last year's Tour de Ski.
Overall World Cup leader Lukas Bauer (CZE) was gunning for the victory, posting a 10 second lead after 5km. Hjelemeset dropped him to second at 10km and Bauer eventually settled for fourth place, loosing the yellow points leader bib to Teichmann.
The top North American finisher was Canada's Devon Kershaw in 35th, 1:39 behind the winner. Kershaw was 16th last weekend in Kuusamo, where he faded after an extremely strong start. He started relatively hard again, passing the 5km checkpoint in 13th place. He slipped to 23rd at 10km. Teammate George Gray was 56th, with Drew Goldsack in 65th and Sean Crooks 75th in the 78 man field.
The rest of the American squad did not fare particularly well. Lars Flora (70th) was 4:22 behind Teichmann with sprinter Andy Newell and Chris Cook nearly 5:30 back in 73rd and 74th respectively. Newell was questionable for this event, after fighting a cold most of the week (read more on Andy's blog).
– Norway placed 5 in top 10
– The home team did not fare well – the top Swiss finisher was 30th
– Italy had a tough day, with a top finish of 23rd
World Cup action continues tomorrow with a 4x10km relay.