Italy – Pietro Piller-Cottrer (ITA) won the World Cup Final Prologue over an easy course in St. Caterina, just 0.1 seconds ahead of Tord Asle Gjerdalen of Norway. Third place went to Czech Martin Jaks, 1.8 seconds behind the winner. This was Jak's first ever World cup podium finish.
The race counts toward the World Cup Final (3 competitions in 3 days), which is a kind of â€˜Mini Tour'. To get the World Cup points for the overall and sprint World Cup standings from today, the racers must finish all three races.
Piller-Cottrer started fast was second at 0.8km already second, while Gjerdalen (28th at 0.8 km) and Jaks (30th at 0.8 km) were increased their speed to the end of the race.
Said Piller-Cottrer, “It was a great victory today in front of the Italian crowd. Everybody was cheering me along the whole course — it was fantastic to race here in St. Caterina. These World Cup points are also very important for me in the overall ranking and the distance ranking. Entering today i was fourth in both standings.”
The tight fight for the overall sprint World Cup ranking on the men's side has been decided. Norweigan Ola Vigen Hattestad took the title over Swede Emil Joennson. Both sprint specialists could not crack the top 30 so Hattestad's two point lead holds up.
Hattestad is grateful that the pressure is off to complete the World Cup Final, saying “I'm really happy that the decision for the sprint World Cup was made today. The races tomorrow and on Sunday would be really hard for me as a sprinter. I am not sure if I will now start. To get the sprint World Cup trophy is amazing — I'm looking forward to holding it in my hands.”
Devons Kershaw was the lone North American to race. The Canadian finished 47th 36.3 seconds behind Piller-Cottrer. Kris Freeman was scheduled to start for the Americans, but was a scratch. Skiers who did not start today will not be able to compete in the remaining two World Cup events.
Racing continues tomorrow with a 20km mass start classic race. There will be sprint bonus points of 15,10 and 5 points available at 2, 7, 12, and 17 kilometers, as well as at the finish.