Now that's a podium. Heikkinen gets first win since 2011
What a podium today in the men's 15 km free technique competition during stage 7 of the Ski Tour Canada in Canmore. Finland's Matti Heikkinen followed up on his third place finish from two days ago to win his first FIS World Cup competition since he became World Champion back in 2011 in Oslo. In second place was Russia's Evgeniy Belov +13.6 seconds behind Heikkinen's winning time of 35:16.3. It was Belov's first individual podium this season. In third place was Sweden's Marcus Hellner +13.9 seconds back. This was only the second individual trip to the podium for Hellner in the past two seasons.
Local favourite Alex Harvey of Canada just missed out on another Tour podium by 7.8 seconds to take fourth. Russia's Sergey Ustiugov struggled on stage 7 and settled for a 12th place finish +1:02.4 back from Heikkinen. Martin Johnsrud Sundby was 6th and Petter Northug Jr end up 8th and both gained valuable seconds on Ustiugov heading into the final stage 8 competition. Ustiugov heads into the 15 km classic technique pursuit with a 32.3 second lead over Northug and 39.6 on Sundby.
Matti Heikkinen, FIN
I am happy I carried on good result from the skiathlon. To succeed in this high altitude a big VO2 max capacity is needed.
Evgeniy Belov, RUS
It is great to have a good result. Sergey has been very strong and I am happy I could show today he is not the only one.
Marcus Hellner, SWE
I did not expect to be on the podium today. My body was quite stiff before the race. It is great to be on the podium although it is little bit late in the season. Ski Tour Canada was one of my goals, it is good I have at least one good result.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - Stage 7
MEN - 15 km free technique interval start
1. HEIKKINEN Matti 1983 FIN 35:16.3
2. BELOV Evgeniy 1990 RUS +13.6
3. HELLNER Marcus 1985 SWE +13.9
4. HARVEY Alex 1988 CAN +21.7
5. DUVILLARD Robin 1983 FRA +28.8
Complete results are available HERE.
SKI TOUR CANADA STANDINGS
1. USTIUGOV Sergey RUS 3:19:11.1
2. NORTHUG Petter Jr. NOR +32.3
3. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud NOR +39.6
4. HARVEY Alex CAN +2:10.3
5. KROGH Finn Haagen NOR +3:29.0
Complete Tour standings are available HERE.
OVERALL WORLD CUP STANDINGS
1. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud NOR 2191 pts
2. KROGH Finn Haagen NOR - 723 pts
3. NORTHUG Petter Jr. NOR - 829 pts
Complete overall World Cup standings available HERE.
SKI TOUR CANADA SPRINT STANDINGS
1. USTIUGOV Sergey RUS 3:42
2. NORTHUG Petter Jr. NOR 3:05
3. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud NOR 2:41
Complete Tour sprint standings are available HERE.