Justyna Kowalczyk wins and takes back the overall Tour de Ski lead UPDATED
Justyna Kowalczyk showed no signs of weakness in today’s 10 km classic race. Shooting up the steep uphills and flying down the hills like she was a pro skier, no one could keep up with her speed. At the last kilometres she got a gap down to Bjoergen and managed to keep it the whole way to the finish line. Bjoergen finished second followed by Kalla and Saarinen. Justyna is now the overall leader of Tour de Ski and will start 11.5 k's 11.5 seconds ahead of Bjoergen tomorrow.
Just like the men’s race, the speed in the women’s was really fast. Even though the course had been changed from last year, with steeper hills and more technical difficult course, it was a greater way to show who’s in a great shape and who’s not. With two rounds of 4.5 km and a small loop in the end, the women fought for bonus seconds’ in both rounds at the highest top of the course. Kowalczyk who knew she had to take bonus points to take back the overall lead, managed to come in front of Bjoergen on both intermediate bonus points as well as on the finish line and earned a total of 45 seconds. Bjoergen came in second at all three of them and took 34 seconds.
The entire start field was gathered for almost the entire first round, before a group of 9 with Kowalczyk and Bjoergen in front increased the speed and showed who the Queens of Cross-Country skiing are. One of the favourites from todays’ race, Therese Johaug, seemed surprisingly tired throughout the race and was not able to compete with the best ones after 4.5 km. Charlotte Kalla and Aino-Kaisa Saarinen managed to stay on top for a long while instead, but were never any threat to Kowalczyk and Bjoergen.
At the last part of the last round, it was all about Bjoergen and Kowalczyk, and Kowalczyk simply refused to give up. Coming into the finish line 7.5 seconds ahead of Bjoergen, she showed that she’s back, and will not give up the fight for the Overall Victory before tomorrow.
Ladies will compete in 9 km free technique tomorrow, with the famous final climb up Alpe Cermis.