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Nepryaeva defends Tour de Ski leader bib
Image by NordicFocus

The final stages of the COOP FIS Tour de Ski performanced by Le Gruyère started off in Val di Fiemme. Stage 5 of 6 went down with today's 10km C Mass Start for the Women. For the remaining top athletes it was also the last call to get themselves precious seconds in the Overall Tour de Ski standing before tomorrow's last stage at the Final Climb to Alpe Cermis. 

Natalia Nepryaeva took the yellow leader bib along from the Sprint in Oberstdorf to stage N° 5 in Val di Fiemme. Throughout the race however, it was Ebba Andersson from Sweden who was the head of the group. The young Swede tried to get precious seconds off Nepryaeva already in regard to the Tour de Ski Overall standing. 

Half way through the race, the pace was high and only six athletes could keep up in the lead. A great feature of this leading group was, that it consisted of six different nations. The diversity and strength in the Women's Distance races has shown already in the first period of the World Cup season, but especially today, as the top-6 launched to get off each others heels. 

In the final lap, Natalia Nepryaeva turned up the pace to take over the lead. None of the athletes was able to react on this attack at the u-turn before the Zorzi hill. Natalia Nepryaeva celebrates her fifth individual World Cup victory and repeats her victory in the 10km C Mass Start from last year. 

A very strong race and a well deserved second podium spot goes to Norwegian Heidi Weng. The 30 year-old stated after her race: "I never had such good skis. I felt that the race was very fast in the climbs, which I was happy about. For tomorrow I will just go as fast as possible. I like the uphill and it could be the best day for me".

On the last remaining podium spot, a very well known Classic expert reported back. Krista Pärmäkoski from Finland already had her eyes set on this 10km C Mass Start in Val di Fiemme as the track suits her skills and performance. Nevertheless, as all others, she already had 4 stages in her legs but was happy with the overall performance: "It feels so good and I waited for this, to be back on the podium. In Ruka I was in good shape but after I was sick and I had to train to come back. Wehn I started this Tour I was in good shape but I was a bit unlucky in the races. So I had to keep the focus and I knew that this Val di Fiemme track is really good for me".

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