Petra Majdic (SLO) and Maurice Manificat (FRA) win first stage of the Tour de Barents 2011, 5/10 km Classic in Tana, Norway
Slovenian Petra Majdic dominated ladies' race over 5 km Classic and took the lead in the Tour de Barents standing. Kerttu Niskanen led Finnish ladies and captured second place ahead of compatriot Krista Laehteenmaeki.Majdic clearly won in 15:33.3 min and letft runner up Niskanen more than 12 seconds behind. Krista Lahteenmaki in third place finished with a gap of +13.6 sec.
“The race was perfect for me, since I haven t been skiing classic for 2 weeks” Petra Majdic said. “The tack was great for me, because uphills were not steep and conditions were fast,” she explained. In tomorrow's 10 km Mass Start Free Majdic will start as the Tour leader. “Tomorrows mass start and Saturdays sprint with bonus seconds are important for me, because I think I will not be the best on Ounasvaara Climb on final day,” said Majdic.
Manificat takes the Tour lead
On the men's side Frenchman Maurice Manicat took stage win in 10 km Classic. Finish Sami Jauhojaervi secured place. Manificat's teammate Jean-Marc Gaillard grabbed third place. Leaders were changing during the race but in the end Manificat was stronger. the Frenchman won in 28:38.1 min and edged out Sami Jauhojaervi by +8 sec. Jean Marc Gaillard lost on Manificat almost +10 sec. "I heard intermediate times well, and my finish was really good today," said Mauroce Manificat. “I have worked a lot with classical technique during season, and it pays off. Also I have to thank Roberto Gal for great skis,” said Maurice Manificat.
K-Citymarket Junior ladies stage was won by Finn Marjaana Pitkänen before Ine Loevlien from Norway and Italian Depora Agreiter. Pitkänen wasn’t pleased about her start, but last kilometers went perfectly: “It was difficult to find a rhythm in such a fast track, but final round went perfectly. For this I have to give thanks also to ladies competitor, Anne Kyllönen, who set a good pace.”
Men junior stage was pure domination by Iivo Niskanen (Finland). On the half-way after 6 kilometers he was already in the lead with 30 seconds gap. “Skiing was really easy today. I think I started a bit too fast, but everything went perfect”, says promising skier and says: “It was a bit of a surprise that the gap to Perttu was so big, because conditions and the track were fast.”
Tour De Barents continues on Thursday evening in Juutuanvaara, Inari with free technique mass starts.
Results Stage 1: Tana, Norway
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