Nilsson and Ustiugov win opening stage of Tour de Ski
Stina Nilsson (SWE) and Sergey Ustiugov (RUS) have won the opening stage of the 11th FIS Tour de Ski. Both athletes were untouchable in the 1.5 km free technique sprint competition. They were each the fastest qualifiers of the day and in the end the best on the day.
Following Nilsson onto the ladies' podium was a pair of Norwegian athletes. Maiken Caspersen Falla took second place +2.48 seconds off the lead with Heidi Weng in third +6.47 seconds back. Nilsson and Falla have now won the last 9 sprint competitions the longest streak ever between two athletes in the sprint event.
Nilsson will carry a +10.7 second lead into tomorrow's stage two 5km mass start in classic technique. Weng sits 3rd in the standings +16.6 seconds back. There will be bonus seconds available for the ladies on the first lap for the first 10 athletes and again in the finish for the top 3.
Italy's Federico Pellegrino followed Ustiugov on to the podium in second place today for his first podium of the season. He finished +2.03 second back just ahead of Norway's Finn Haagen Krogh who was +2.80 behind the Russian.
Ustiugov now leads the Tour after one stage by +8.2 seconds. Tour favourites along with Ustiugov will have some time to make up over the coming stages. Krogh sits in 3rd place +13.8, Martin Johnsrud Sundby in 4th (NOR) +17.0, Alex Harvey (CAN) in 6th +27.6 and Dario Cologna (SUI) in 13th +47.9. The men will be back in action tomorrow on stage 2 with a 10 km mass start classic with bonus seconds available on lap 2 of 4 and in the finish like the ladies.
Stina Nilsson (SWE)
It felt great to ski four heats instead of only one. I felt in a very good shape. It was a perfect day.
Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR)
It was really tough long race. I was feeling better and better during the final. I expected Heidi to keep up with Stina. In the second lap of the final Heidi got little bit tired and tried to close the gap on Stina myself. I did not have enough power to do that. Stina was in a great shape.
Heidi Weng (NOR)
I felt stiff almost the whole day, but at the end I made on the podium. To be third in a skate sprint is a great success for me. I am very happy.
Sergey Ustiugov (RUS)
I did not feel unbeatable but I felt very strong today. It is good start the Tour with a victory. I will try to stay behind Sundby tomorrow.
Federico Pellegrino (ITA)
I did not have a good start to the season. I have been looking for a good shape and good feeling on skis. I am lacking maximum speed at the moment. But 2nd place today is a good sign. After the qualification I knew I could be fighting for 2nd place.
Finn Haagen Krogh (NOR)
I am satisfied with 3rd place. The goal of the day for me was to get to the final and get as many bonus seconds as possible. It’s a big bonus to finish on the podium today. Sergey showed his strength again. In the second lap Sergey and I were fighting for the lead. But I was not strong enough, my legs were burning. But I am happy with 3rd.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - 1.5 km sprint F
1. NILSSON Stina SWE 3:26.27
2. FALLA Maiken Caspersen NOR +2.48
3. WENG Heidi NOR +6.47
4. HARSEM Kathrine Rolsted NOR +6.95(PF4)
5. VAN DER GRAAFF Laurien SUI +6.96(PF5)
6. DIGGINS Jessica USA +7.64
Complete ladies' sprint results are available HERE.
1. USTIUGOV Sergey RUS 3:00.50
2. PELLEGRINO Federico ITA +2.03
3. KROGH Finn Haagen NOR +2.80
4. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud NOR +3.52
5. CHANAVAT Lucas FRA +10.25
6. HARVEY Alex CAN +15.93
Complete men's sprint results are available HERE.
Tour Standings after Stage 1
1. NILSSON Stina SWE 2:28.2
2. FALLA Maiken Caspersen NOR +10.7
3. WENG Heidi NOR +16.6
4. HARSEM Kathrine Rolsted NOR +20.8
5. OESTBERG Ingvild Flugstad NOR +21.3
Complete Tour standings for ladies HERE.
1. USTIUGOV Sergey RUS 2:01.2
2. PELLEGRINO Federico ITA +8.2
3. KROGH Finn Haagen NOR +13.8
4. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud NOR +17.0
5. CHANAVAT Lucas FRA +20.4
Complete Tour standings for men HERE.