Polish star Justyna Kowalczyk defended the Tour de Ski victory and was the first on the top of the Alpe Cermis today. Therese Johaug from Norway showed an excellent performance, and attacked from the fifth place and overtook both Follis and Longa and captured second place. Third came home Marianna Longa of Italy.
Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) started the eight and last stage of Tour de Ski, 2 minutes and 8 seconds ahead of Marianna Longa (ITA). Kowalczyk managed to stay in front the entire race and could celebrate her victory of Tour de Ski on the top of Alpe Cermis with a total time after eight stage of 2:47:31h. Therese Johaug (NOR) who did an excellent race with the fastest time on the last stage, finished second + 1:21.5min behind, followed by Marianna Longa who was 2:40.7min behind the winning lady.
The victory was never in any danger for Kowalczyk today, but the fight for second and third position were really though. Therese Johaug who started 3:21 behind Kowalczyk overtook athlete by athlete. After 1.7 km Johaug was in front of Majdic and continued to ski in high speed. Winning seconds to the podium for every meter, Johaug was right behind Follis at 5 kilometers and overtook her right after. In one of the steepest climb, Johaug had contact with Longa, and went straight ahead of her. The tiny girl from Norway had managed to go from fifth position to the second position, winning over 2 minutes in the end. Longa and Follis were fighting about the third position, but Longa were the strongest lady today and waited for her team mate at the finish line.
Justyna Kowalczyk’s victory was the second in a row in the Tour de Ski. The Polish top athlete competed so far in all five editions and finished among top eleven in all of them. For Johaug and Longa it was both the first time on the podium in this multistage competition.
The Tour Sprint standing, Kowalczyk won ahead of Petra Majdic and Arianna Follis.
After the Tour de Ski, Kowalczyk is leading as well the overall World Cup standing with 1271 points. On second place follows Arianna Follis (ITA) ahead of Marianna Longa (ITA).
Justyna Kowalczyk (POL):
“It is a really good victory to me, it has been 10 though days. I am very happy about being on top of Alpe Cermis, and the next week will be all about resting. I was tired, my legs were in pain and all I could think of was the finish line. I heard Therese was attacking, but I was not afraid of her winning in front of me. If the time gap would have been smaller I would have went faster. I was not giving 100% in the last hill.
Otepää will be my next race, and I hope to be in great shape for the World Cup here, because it is my favorite place skiing”.
Therese Johaug (NOR):
“It was a really great race today, my shape is really good and I had great skis. I had a dream about finishing second today, and I was really happy when I saw Longa up at the hill. Overtaking the girls was a really great moment, and this is the best I have done in my career so far.
I will go back home to Dalsbygda now and stay there for a week and a half relaxing before we will go to Otepää. I think it will be good to come home and take a break from the skis. Oslo is of course my dream of the season, and I hope my shape will be even better for the Championship there”.
Marianna Longa (ITA):
“It was a very hard race today, the climbing is really really though. I am so tired right now. Therese Johaug was really strong yesterday, and she was even more dangerous for me today. I am really satisfied with winning third place today, and I am happy with my race.The next event for me will be Rybinsk, and a National Championship in Italy”.