Aino-Kaisa Saarinen skied the 10K classic loop in the fastest time today in 28:55.7, finishing 2.6 seconds ahead of teammate Virpi Kuitunen. Therese Johaug (NOR) finished third, 13.3 seconds back.
Kuitunen now wears both the golden and silver leader bibs. By claiming 20 bonus seconds – at the 2.2K mark and the finish – Kuitunen now leads the tour by 25 seconds. Charlotte Kalla, at the top of the ranking after yesterday's Stage 4 race, finished 6th today, 25.2 seconds back from Saarinen, and is now second in the overall ranking.
Following Stage 5: Top 5 Overall
Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) 1:32:21.4
Charlotte Kalla (SWE) 1:32:46.4
Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) 1:33:03.5
Olga Rotcheva (RUS) 1:33:07.1
Arianna Follis (ITA) 1:33:17.6
Stage 5 Quotes:
Virpi Kuitunen, FIN (Tour overall leader & Sprint ranking leader)
“I was fighting for the first bonus seconds and after that I was more relaxed. Aino-Kaisa Saarinen had better skis than I did, in fact I lost 10 seconds to her in the last downhill. I'm looking forward to the upcoming races and my goal is to win Tour de Ski this year again.”
Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, FIN (Lady of the day)
“My race was perfect today, I had great skis. I had quite a lot of pressure in the previous races because of the skating style, classic is so much better for me. So I did what I had to do today. My goal for today's race was to take all bonus seconds and win.
I'm looking forward to the races in Italy. I think the sprint will be OK for me and the classical technique mass start race in Val di Fiemme is perfect. But you never know what will happen in the last uphill. Anything can happen.”