Ustiugov gets first distance World Cup win
Sergey Ustiugov made it a Russian sweep of the top step of the podium in Sweden with his victory today in the 15 km free technique mass start competition. Nikita Kriukov won the men's sprint in Stockholm Thursday and Maxim Vylegzhanin won in Falun Saturday in the 10 km classic. It was the first FIS World Cup distance victory for Ustiugov, known best for his sprinting ability. Italy's Franceso Defabiani took second place +0.3 behind Ustiugov and just 0.4 ahead of Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway in third. It was de Fabiani's first individual podium in free technique. Ustiugov made his move on the final climb and it was enough to keep away a large chase group.
The top 25 men were separated by less than 14 seconds with a bunch sprint to the finish. The top 5 athletes were separated by just 1.0 seconds.
Sergey Ustiugov RUS
I am really happy to have my first World Cup victory this season and my first ever in a distance competition. I'm usually only getting a podium in a sprint so for a win in distance is great. The success of the Russian team is perfect here in Sweden and we are building to the Ski Tour Canada.
Francesco de Fabiani ITA
It was a really hard race and it was a big group and hard to move, but I found space on the final climb to move up the side. On the finish stretch I was hoping to be able to get 3rd place but in the end it was second place for me. I am not a sprinter like some of the others but maybe after 15 km I am fast enough.
Martin Johnsrud Sundby NOR
It was tough out there today. It was hard to move and I just tried to make sure I was in position when I needed to be at the end. I was hoping that Maurice Manificat would maybe lift the pace and we could get a smaller group but with 1.5 km's of climbing and 2.5 km's of downhill each lap it was hard to get away so I just fought hard in the stadium for the podium.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - Men's 15 km free technique
1. USTIUGOV Sergey 1992 RUS 31:42.5
2. DE FABIANI Francesco 1993 ITA +0.3
3. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud 1984 NOR +0.4
4. DYRHAUG Niklas 1987 NOR +0.9
5. KROGH Finn Haagen 1990 NOR +1.0
Complete results are available HERE.
OVERALL WORLD CUP STANDINGS
1. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud NOR 1817 pts
2. KROGH Finn Haagen NOR 1074 pts
3. NORTHUG Petter Jr. NOR 1031 pts
Complete overall standings are available HERE.
OVERALL DISTANCE STANDINGS
1. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud NOR 1097 pts
2. DYRHAUG Niklas NOR 596 pts
3. MANIFICAT Maurice FRA 533 pts
Complete distance standings are available HERE.