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Sunday’s World Cup 15-kilometer classic in Planica, Slovenia was a coupling of efficiency, power transfer and patience. Three laps of the course on which skiers climbed roughly 650 feet per 5 k cycle required the low-revving thump-thump-thump of a diesel engine and just the right timing for speed bursts to close time gaps. Kazakhstan’s Alexey Poltoranin covered the 15 k distance in 36:45.7 and won the race by 13.2 seconds over overall World Cup leader,...