Rybinsk, Russia – Mariann Longs (ITA) won the first ever 10km freestyle mass start event. Longa edged teammate Ariann Follis by .4 seconds. Steffie Bohler (GER) was third. The front pack consisted of 17 skiers at the finish – all were within 6.6 seconds of Longa. The top 34 were within one minute of the lead, and the filed remained one large pack thorugh the first 3 kilometers.
Longa and Follis skipped last weekend’s World Cup in Estonia after having a successful weekend racing in Whistler.
Longa was ecstatic with her first career victory, saying “Our race was fantastic. I am very happy. It is my second podium, but the first ever victory. I can’t express what I feel, I’m just so happy. My skis were really fast today. So after the last downhill I just went. The audience here is amazing. It is so emotional!”
Added Follis, “It is a great day for us, Marianna and I took an Italian double victory for the first time in 13 years. That is amazing. We like Rybinsk, it seems a lucky place for us. The course is difficult and has tough uphills, especially when you come to the finish you have to be in the second or third on the top of the last uphill to have a chance to take the victory. Beside the course, Marianna and I are friends and I’m really happy not only about my second place but also for her victory.“
No North Americans raced.
In the men’s 15 kilometer, Tobias Angerer (GER) had the most left at the finish and pulled away from Jean Marc Gaillard (FRA) to win by .7 seconds. Sergei Dolidovich (BLR) was third. The top 33 all finished within 20 seconds of first, and 43 skiers were within one minute.
Said Angerer “I’m glad about my victory. It is great to be back on the podium after a long period. I felt good during the race and I knew also that you have to be among the first 5 in the last uphill to have a chance to win. Well, I had a long period of illness and now I hope I’m back for the World Championship in Liberec. My main goal there is to get a medal.”
Devon Kershaw race for Canada and finished 17th, +4.8 seconds.