The Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski by Craft Sportswear continued with Stage 6 in Asiago (ITA) yesterday. In the free technique sprint race, Charlotte Kalla of Sweden World Cup sprint compeition by beating Natalia Korosteleva (2nd, RUS) and Justyna Kowalczyk (3rd, POL) at the finish.
Virpi Kuitunen of Finland, the Tour leader and holder of the golden bib, finished 11th (5th in B-Final) in Asiago, collecting 32 bonus seconds. Thanks to her second fastest qualifying time, which was added to the Tour total time score, Kuitunen maintained her lead in the Overall Tour Standings by a mere 0.2 seconds. Kalla collected 60 bonus seconds t and is now 2nd overall and 7th in the sprint ranking.
Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland had another strong race, finishing 3rd in today’s sprint. She is also 3rd in the Overall ranking now, just 23.7 seconds behind Kuitunen.
In the women's Sprint ranking, Kuitunen retained the silver bib ahead of Arianna Follis (ITA) who finished 4th in the Asiago sprint. Kuitunen has collected 1:51 in bonus time, as opposed to 1:49 for Follis. Justyna Kowalczyk is now 3rd in the Sprint Ranking, with a total of 1:39 in bonus time.
In the men’s sprint race, the Man of the Day was Petter Northug (NOR) who recorded his best Tour Stage finish this year by taking the victory. Thanks to the 60 bonus seconds for the win, he also claimed the men’s silver bib as the leader of the men’s Sprint Ranking and rose to 5th place in the overall Tour Standings, 2.03,9 behind.
Despite finishing 42nd in today’s race, Lukas Bauer (CZE) continues to wear the Tour leader’s golden bib. His lead over the 2nd ranked Tord Asle Gjerdalen of Norway is now 1.17,1 after Gjerdalen finished 6th, and collecting 42 bonus seconds. Pietro Piller Cottrer of Italy also had a strong race with a 5th place finish (44 bonus seconds), and held 3rd place in the overall rankings – now 1.45,2 behind Bauer.
Bauer knows that he has a target on his back. “We will see what happens in the race tomorrow. Maybe some teams will have some tactics to stop Bauer, but I feel strong,” said the Tour leader. “I don’t plan too many tactics in advance since after the first two km everything is totally different anyway, and you have to use your head. I don’t look for bonus points, just to be first in the finish. My goal now is to be first on the top of Alp Cermis if I will not be first on the top after the last six stages I will be disappointed.”
In the men’s Tour Sprint Ranking, Petter Northug and Tor Arne Hetland have both collected 1:44 in bonus time. Northug leads the ranking because of his victory in today’s race. The previous Sprint leader Nikolay Morilov of Russia is now 3rd, with 1:30 in bonus time, he was 12th yesterday.
The Tour de Ski will continues in Val di Fiemme (ITA) with Stage 7, a mass start race in the classical technique. The women will race 10km and the men 20km. There will be bonus seconds awarded both during the competition on the course and at the finish (15 sec, 10 sec, 5 sec for the top 3 at each ranking point). The men will have five sprint bonus points, once after each lap at the stadium, and at the finish (a maximum of 90 seconds). For the ladies, there will be two sprint bonus points, once after each lap at the stadium, and at the finish (a maximum of 45 seconds).
Petter Northug (NOR) (Photo Credit: Fischer Skis)