Oberhof, Germany – Petra Majdic (SLO) skied to victory in the third stage of the 2010 Tour de Ski. Majdic bounced back from a tough race yesterday, and maintained her position as the Tour sprint leader. Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) held onto the overall lead, finishing second.
There was a clear division between the haves and have nots today. The top eight in qualifying held eight of the top nine spots on the final result sheet, and the top three qualifiers stood on the podium.
Majdic qualified third behind Aino Kaisa Saarinen (FIN) and Kowalczyk. Despite her strong first run, she said she did not feel good early on, and it wasn’t until the finals that she found her stride.
The tall Slovenian set the pace out of the start in the final, and she and Kowalczyk quickly opened a gap. By the midway point they were clear of the field, and only crash would change things. Saarinen ended up on her own, and cruised across the line in third,, while Arianna Follis (ITA) kept her strong Tour going with a 4th.
Kowalczyk is now 4.3 seconds up on Saarinen in the overall. Kristin Stoermer Steira (NOR), who finished 5th today, is third overall, 30 seconds back. Majdic is 4th +34.5 and Follis is fifth, +39.7.
This was Majdic’s first classic sprint victory of the season.
“I am very happy about my victory today. My service team prepared for me perfect skis with ideal grip wax. I was little bit slower than Justyna in downhills but it was OK as I wanted to attack in the uphills.”
She continued, “The win in the classic sprint is especially important because it is the event at the Olympics this year.”
Kowalczyk was also very happy with her race as she felt quite tired entering the day.
Sare Renner (CAN) finished 42nd and is now in 28th overall.