Overall World Cup leader Lukas Bauer (CZE), who finished second last week in Liberec, regained his position in the first spot beating out Tord Asle Gjerdalen (NOR) by less than a second. Anders Soedergren (SWE) was third, +5.8. In what has become the norm for mass start races on the men's World Cup, the field was extremely tight. The top 15 all finished within 12 seconds of the leader.
In the last lap, Soedergren attacked at the beginning of the MÃ¶rderbacken (Killer Hill) creating a gap between him and the other competitors. But after the downhill, Lukas Bauer made a move and passed Soedergren. Over the last meters, Gjerdalen attacked the leader Bauer but was not strong enough to take the victory.
This was Bauer's seventh victory of his career and the second one in a pursuit race. For Gjerdalen, it was his first podium place ever while Soedergren was in the top 3 for the second time this season.
Said Bauer, “It was a tough competition. I tried to save some energy in the classical part. I pushed hard in the skating part but the last time up the killer hill when Anders attacked I wasn't able to follow and thought that I would not win today. But as you saw I came back on the flatter part and was very happy that I won the finish sprint against Gjerdalen — I was really afraid of him in the final stretch.”
Gjerdalen was pleased with his effort and had excellent skis. “I'm really, really happy. I had a good race and my skis were perfect, especially in the last part of the race. I had some difficulties in the last uphill but in the downhill and the flatter part I came back due to my perfect skis and passed Anders – but Lukas is skiing in another world this year.”
Sergei Dolidovich of Belarus was a surprising 4th. The 35 year-old Dolidovich has over 100 World Cup starts, with one podium finish in his long career – a victory in 2001. He also had a 4th place finish in 2004.
American Kris Freeman continued his run of World Cup point races, finishing 23rd, +35.8. At the transition, he was in the middle of the lead back, holding 14th position.
Devon Kershaw (CAN) finished in 24th, less than a second behind Freeman. His Canadian teammate, George Grey, finished 46th, +3:33.
Leif Zimmermann and Garrott Kuzzy also raced for the Americans. Zimmermann was 58th, +8:11 and Kuzzy took the 60th and final spot, +11:04.