In the womens 10km C mass start race the anticipations between the skiers were high. The divers track of Val di Fiemme thus also awaited with falls and pole breaks of the front runners as well as a fantastic podium at the 100st stage of the Tour de Ski.
Top-favourite Therese Johaug took over the lead together with Ebba Andersson who managed to keep up with the high pace of the Norwegian. Also Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen never took her eyes off the leader and focussed on her game. The narrow track demanded great concentration and technical skiing, especially in the fast downhill shortly before re-entering the stadium. Exactly on this spot, the Overall Tour de Ski leader Therese Johaug fell and had to fight back to the front. In the meantime, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, Katharina Hennig, Ebba Andersson, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen and Natalia Nepryaeva had taken over the command in the front. In the final uphill before entering the stadium, Ingvild broke her pole and had to give way to the other athletes.
Hennig led the front-runners in the downhill to the stadium but was surpassed by the Swede and Norwegian.
Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen takes her first victory since 2015, Ebba Andersson races to the second rank and Katharina Hennig from Germany races to her first ever and well deserved World Cup podium!
Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (NOR):
„It’s not been the usual podium so it was surprising for me. I feel like we are a good mix as I am the veteran and Ebba and Katharina are the future. Also the podium for a german athlete is very important for Katharina herself, her team and international Cross-Country skiing. It is also important - as I dont win so often anymore - that it’s inspiring for other athletes to see that it’s important.
The conditions and the track out there was quite close and you could also feel that there was a lot of nerves in the field and that is why I decided to stay a bit behind in the curves to stay out of trouble but I also stayed very calm and that was important today."
Ebba Andersson (SWE):
„I felt strong and had good skis. So I am very thankful to our waxers who have done a good job today. Astrid is totally right when she sais that it was quite a mental race. So I tried to focus well to avoid falls."
Katharina Hennig (GER):
"It’s an amazing feeling and a special moment for me, my family, my team, and the whole German Cross-Country team. So I hope that this moment motivates many girl and boys out there in Germany. We had very good skis and I felt very good from the beginning of the Tour, actually a bit better at every stage. Today I felt a lot of power until the last round so I tried.“
After two tough races, the Norwegian Johannes Høsflot Klæbo reports back in the game and ensures todays victory before the Russian duo Ustiugov and Bolshunov.
The pace in the first two laps of the 15km C mass start competition was rather restrained. The Norwegian Hans Christer Holund, four-times Tour de Ski winner Dario Cologna from Switzerland as well as the Classic machine from Finland, Iivo Niskanen took over the lead as the speed started to pick up.
For the final lap, the Russian trio of Larkov, Bolshunov and Ustiugov took the lead together with Klæbo.
Only just in the final climb before the finish, Sergey Ustiugov tried to break away from the leaders and was soon caught up by the Norwegian. Klæbo took out the fast skis for the final downhill and managed to ensure his top spot just before the finish sprint. Ustiugov follows on the second rank and Bolshunov on third.
With todays results, Bolshunov still leads the Overall Tour de Ski standing 18 seconds before Klæbo.
Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR):
„For sure it’s a nice day for me. I had a plan to be in the front of the guys and push really hard towards the end. I think it was good that the pace remained high, I had good skis and so I am very happy."
Sergey Ustiugov (RUS):
"Everything was perfect and the skis were also very good. I feel much fresher after this race this year than I felt last year at the same time. Todays race was close to be perfect especially as I was able to race to second spot."
Alexander Bolshunov (RUS):
"I don’t feel especially excited after today and I don’t mind having the tough Tour. Now I am actually happy that there are no more rest days before the tour end!"