Ingvild Flugstad Østberg proved to be a league of her own by winning 10 km C mass start with a +10.0 second margin. Johannes Høsflot Klæbo on the other hand had to fight hard for his victory, which was once again decided on the final stretch before the finish line.
At the beginning of the ladies race, Krista Pärmäkoski from Finland and the Tour de Ski winner from last year, Heidi Weng from Norway took over the lead and set the pace for their group of prosecutors. Soon, Østberg managed to set free, only being chased by the Russian duo Nepryaeva and Sedova. After 10 km, when crossing the finish line, the Norwegian finished 10 seconds ahead of Natalia Nepryaeva and Anastasia Sedova (+10.8).
At the mens 15 km Mass start race in Classic style the fight for the podium was a tough one. The spectators eyes were set on multiple favourites, of course also having tomorrow's final stage of the "Alpe Cermis" in their minds. An alternating wave of Russian and Norwegian athletes were challenged not only by their team mates but also by strong performing athletes from Sweden, Germany, France, Great Britain and of course by the Italian Francesco De Fabiani. In the final lap, Johannes Høsflot Klæbo set off from the group, being chased by De Fabiani and Bolshunov. In a spectacular final sprint towards the finish line, Klæbo crossed the 15 km mark at 40:52.6, De Fabiani (+0.6 seconds) and Bolshunov (+2.6 seconds).
With their performances, Ingvild Østberg Flugstad will start into the final stage of the Tour de Ski 2018/19 with a +53.4 second margin before Nepryaeva and Krista Pärmäkoski (+2:13.1 minutes).
Johannes Høsflot Klæbo ensured a 1:20.4 minute margin to the following Sergey Ustiugov.
„It was just full speed to the finish and I am not stopping until the finish line now.“
Johannes Høsflot Klæbo
PREVIEW Sunday, 6th January 2019 - final stage of the Tour de Ski - Alpe Cermis
LADIES' 9KM PURSUIT FREESTYLE
- Just one of the last five leaders ahead of the final stage managed to win the overall Tour de Ski title, Marit Bjørgen in 2014/15. In the other four seasons, the number two in the standings went on to claim the overall title.
- All previous 12 winners of the Tour de Ski were in the overall top two at the start of the final event.
- The last eight athletes with the fastest time in the final pursuit race all managed to reach overall Tour de Ski podium. In 2010, Kristin Størmer Steira was the last winner of the final stage who missed out on an overall podium spot (5th).
- Athletes from Norway have won 12 of the last 13 Tour de Ski pursuit stages, with the only exception in that run Stina Nilsson's victory in the 10km pursuit (freestyle) in Oberstdorf on 4 January 2017.
- Ingvild Flugstad Østberg won the 10km pursuit (freestyle) in Oberstdorf on Thursday to claim her third pursuit win in Tour de Ski history. Only Johaug (7) and Justyna Kowalczyk (6) claimed more pursuit victories in the competition. Bjørgen is also on three wins.
- The last athlete to win multiple pursuits in a single edition of a Tour de Ski was Bjørgen in 2014/15.
- Jessica Diggins is hoping to become the first non-European winner of a Tour de Ski pursuit race. The American finished in third place in both pursuit stages of last year's edition.
MEN'S 9KM PURSUIT FREESTYLE
- Ten of the 12 leaders ahead of the final stage went on to win the overall Tour de Ski title. Only Dario Cologna in 2012/13 and Petter Northug in 2009/10 failed to maintain their lead in the final pursuit. Both athletes finished second in the overall.
- All previous 12 winners of the Tour de Ski were in the overall top two at the start of the final event. Alexander Legkov in 2012/13 and Lukáš Bauer in 2009/10 both started the final pursuit in second position overall and went on to win the Tour de Ski. Legkov started the last stage with a 6.5 seconds deficit. Bauer was 8.3 seconds behind leader Northug.
- Just one of the last eight winners of the Tour de Ski also managed to clock the fastest individual time in the final pursuit race - Martin Johnsrud Sundby in 2015/16.
- Johannes Høsflot Klæbo won the 15km pursuit (freestyle) in Oberstdorf on Thursday. The last athlete to win multiple pursuits in a single edition of a Tour de Ski was Sundby in 2015/16.
- Klæbo can become the first athlete to claim multiple top-three finishes in pursuit stages on his Tour de Ski debut.
- Dario Cologna, 15th in the 15km pursuit in Oberstdorf, has won five pursuits in the Tour de Ski, the joint-most all-time among men along with Northug (classic and free). Bauer (2) and Sundby (4) are the only other athletes with multiple pursuit wins in the competition.
- Cologna, Sundby and Northug are all on a record five pursuit victories in one of the Tours (3-Days Tour, Tour de Ski, World Cup Final, Ski Tour Canada). Maurice Manificat follows with four Tour pursuit wins.