The Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear continued today in Val di Fiemme (ITA) in snowy conditions. In today’s 7th Stage, a mass start race over 20km in the classical technique, Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset (NOR) edged his teammate Jens Arne Svartedal in a photo finish (both same time). Franz Goering of Germany finished 3rd, just 3.2 seconds back.
Lukas Bauer (CZE), the leader of the Tour Overall Standings and wearer of the Tour leader’s golden bib, finished 7th in today’s Stage, 7.5 seconds behind the winner. But Bauer collected a total of 45 bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint points along the course. Tord Asle Gjerdalen (NOR) remains 2nd in the Tour Overall Standings, 1.49.8 behind Bauer. He finished 4th today, and won a total of 10 bonus seconds.
Pietro Piller Cottrer of Italy delivered a strong performance, and finished 11th just 11.0 seconds behind. Counting the 10 bonus seconds on the day, Piller Cottrer will start 2.23,7 behind Bauer in tomorrow’s final Tour Stage, the Final Climb.
Altogether nine athletes managed to collect bonus seconds during the race. The bonus seconds were awarded at the stadium after each 3.3 km lap and at the finish (15 sec, 10 sec and 5 sec each time).
Norwegian Petter Northug did not collect any additional bonus seconds in today’s race but maintained his lead in the Tour Sprint Ranking with 1:44 in bonus time. Provided he finishes the Final Climb, Northug will earn the prize money of CHF 10,000 for the Tour Sprint Ranking winner. Tor Arne Hetland held onto second place, also with 1:44 in bonus time. With 30 bonus seconds in today’s race, Giorgio Di Centa (ITA) rose to 3rd position in the Tour Sprint Ranking with a total of 1:36 in bonus time.
Tomorrow’s final climb will see the field starting a minimum of 1.49,8 seconds behind Lukas Bauer. There are four men starting within one minute (2nd-5th), including three Norwegians (Gjerdalen, Jens Arne Svartedal and Hetland).
In the Tour Team Cup, Team Norway has a lead of 3.09,7 minutes over Russia, and Team Italy is in 3rd position, exactly 6.00 minutes back.