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Klaebo eyes third overall Tour de Ski title after record-breaking sixth win

Jan 07, 2023·Cross-Country
Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR) bags his sixth consecutive Tour de Ski victory: @Nordic Focus.

Another race, another record smashed for Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo, who won the men's mass start 15km classic in Val di Fiemme, Italy, on Saturday, claiming his sixth consecutive victory in the 2022-23 Tour de Ski.

The triumph makes the Norwegian cross-country ace the only skier to have won six events in the same tour, beating Russian Sergey Ustiugov's previous record of five from the 2016-17 season.

"This is one of the toughest races that we do the whole season and it was tough today," Klaebo said.

"[It was] not that fast for the two first laps, but the pace increased. It was a lot of fun racing out there."

Klaebo controlled the close battle where no skier managed to break away from the rest of the pack.

Six of them were within a second of each other with 1.5km to go but coming into the home straight, Klaebo showed the fine form he has had the past weeks. The 26-year-old got himself a front position and was impossible to beat as his compatriot, overall World Cup leader Paul Golberg, claimed the second place.

"My plan was just to be in a good position whenever someone was trying to push a little bit harder," Klaebo said.

"I think that worked quite well, Luckily we had really good skis and the body felt good today as well, so now it's just one more stage to go."

Cheered-on by the home crowd, Italy's Francesco De Fabiani finished third, 0.1 second before Antoine Cyr from Canada. Beating Sweden's Calle Halfvarsson and William Poromaa, who finished fifth and sixth respectively, it was the first time that 24-year-old Cyr made it into a World Cup top-five.

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Klaebo's win increased his Tour de Ski lead by four seconds down to runner-up Halfvarsson. The Norwegian is in pole position to take the his third overall tour title, 1:02 ahead of the Swede, with one event remaining.

Sundays's concluding event, however, is not just any race but a 10km free technique mass start, much of it uphill on an alpine skiing course. And while Klaebo has an advantage down to the rest, Saturday's results means several skiers will be fighting for the podium spots.

No.3 in the standings, Golberg is only 12 seconds behind Halfvarsson, while Italy's Federico Pellegrino as well as Norway's Simen Hegsted Krueger and Hans Christer Holund all have the Swede within a minute’s reach.

"It's a tough challenge for sure but my shape is good and I just have to fight all the way," Golberg said.

The Norwegian 32-year-old can bring confidence from a strong finish on Saturday.

"I was struggling a bit in the start. I was falling behind a lot of positions but I managed to get a bit further in the last laps," Golberg said.

"In the last half of the race I felt pretty strong so I am happy to be on the podium today.

"The track here is tough but the conditions today were quite easy, not as hard as the previous two times that I have raced here. Really nice tracks, fun to race and I guess fun for the crowds to watch because it's high speed and tough duels."

Click here for full results from the men's 15km mass start classic.

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