Heikkinen claimed victory
25-year-old Matti Heikkinen from Finland took the victory in the 15 km individual start race in free technique in Davos (SUI). He finished the 3 x 5 km course in a time of 35:54.8h, 14,4 seconds ahead of the Swedish Marcus Hellner. 23-year-old Maurice Manificat took the third place, 15,9 seconds behind the winner.
The men's race was really exciting and tight. Matti Heikkinen started into the race quite slow. After 5 km he was just 15th but already after 10 km he was third and on km 11,8 - on the nearly highest point of the track he was in the lead and gave that not back. For the french team the race in Davos was a great success. Five french athlete were ranked among the top 10.
For Heikkinen, it was the first World Cup victory after being already on the podium in Beitostoelen at the beginning of the season. The U23-World Champion Maurice Manicat took his first World Cup podium, so far his best rank was 11th place from last season in Vancouver.
New leader of the overall World Cup is Matti Heikkinen with the same points (160pts) then today's 21st Petter Northug but Heikkinen had beside a victory as well a third place on his account while Northug finished so far one time fourth and took one time a victory. On the third rank in the overall World Cup is Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) with 145 points.
In the distance World Cup, Heikkinen is ahead of Norhtug and Vincent Vittoz (FRA).
Matti Heikkinen (FIN):
I started not so fast but was able to push all on the last round. I tried to be on the highest place on the course in front to have some seconds on my account of the way down to the stadium. I'm very happy about my success. I was here in Davos in the last eight days training and I like this place.
Marcus Hellner (SWE):
"It was a good race. I like it when I can ski in a good rhythm all the way on the racing course. The course here fit's me very well. My goal in this season will be the 15 km in the Olympics. It feels good to have a second place in this kind of race already now on my account."
Maurice Manificat (FRA):
"It is unbelievable - just manific! I was hoping this year of a top ten place in the World Cup race, so far I managed the top 15 but I didn't believe to be on the podium today. We all in our team had just amazing ski's - our staff did a good job but also Davos fit's us all well and as well the altitude."
Contributed by: FIS