Eirik Brandsdal was the strongest in today's sprint classic in Otepää. UPDATED
Eirik Brandsdal spurted over Ola Vigen Hattestad in the finish straight and took victory in sprint classic in Otepää.
Men’s final was packed with World’s sprint stars. Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) had a bib number one as he had won the qualifier. There were two Norwegians, three Swedes and one Russian in the final. All six athletes used no wax skis and were double poling the whole 1400 lap.
Jesper Modin (SWE) was very active in front as well as Russian Olympic Champion Nikita Kriukov. In the last downhill Sweden’s Emil Joensson moved in front and led the pack in the finish straight. What seemed to be an advantage turned the opposite and Joensson lacked strength in last 200 m and failed to fight back on the attack of Hattestad and Bransdal who came from behind.
In the last meter Brandsdal won by a tip of a toe his first ever World Cup victory and sent Hattestad to second place. Nikita Kriukov spurted over Joensson and finished third. Emil Joensson took fourth place.
Emil Joensson is still in the lead of the Sprint World Cup with 330 points. Ola Vigen Hattestad has collected 264 points is second whilst Jesper Modin is third with 220 points.
In the overall World Cup ranking, the order of the top three did not change. Dario Cologna (SUI) is leading with 1197 points while Petter Northug has now 774 points and on third spot is Lukas Bauer (CZE) with 698 points
Snow Conditions: hard packed
Eirik Brandsdal (NOR)
I felt strong all the way. I cannot describe my feelings now. I feel great. It was a close race with Ola. It was very even. I pushed as much as I could and I was lucky to win today. I look now to two important races, which is Norwegian championships and Rybinsk
Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR)
I am really happy for Eirik. He had a lot of problems before the season with his leg. He worked a lot with upper body and improved a lot. Of course I was little bit disappointed that I did not win, but when you look who beat you it was OK. I think the uphill could be longer and I realized that if I want to fight for podium I have to use skating skis. Next weekend we have nationals and then I will go to Rybinsk. After then we will have a training camp.
Nikita Kriukov (RUS)
I am happy with my third place. I did not have a good start of the season. I did not perform well in Kuusamo. I was also a little sick but in Otepää I made a successful come back and am happy to be on the podium. I look forward to Oslo. I would like to beat some Norwegian guys in sprint at Holmenkollen