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Kuitunen and Angerer Crowned at First Tour de Ski

Sat, Jan  13, 2007 - By FIS

The first edition of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski ended on Sunday after six exciting competitions in eight days. In the ladies’ competition, Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) – the World Cup leader – had ensured herself a safe 1.5 min lead before the Final Climb following impressive victories in the free technique sprint in Asiago – despite a broken pole in the semi-final - and the mass start race in the classical technique in Val di Fiemme (both ITA).
 
There was no sign of a reappearance of the back pain that had plagued her in La Clusaz (FRA), and so Kuitunen could concentrate on maintaining her rhythm in the much-feared last hill that featured an altitude gain of 407m. She finished on Alpe Cermis clearly ahead of her biggest challenger Marit Bjoergen in 2nd place, and Valentina Shevschenko (UKR), who posted the third fastest Stage time in the Final Climb and sprinted to the podium narrowly ahead of Aino Kaisa Saarinen Kuitunen (FIN).

Winning both the Tour Overall Ranking as well as the Tour Sprint Ranking, Kuitunen earned a total of CHF 132’000 and 400 World Cup points for her supreme performances during the inaugural Tour de Ski. She now leads the Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country 188 points ahead of Bjoergen (634) and 356 points ahead of Petra Majdic (SLO).
 
In the men’s competition, consistency rather than Stage victories paid out for last year’s FIS Overall World Cup champion Tobias Angerer (GER). Angerer had garnered the Tour leader’s golden jersey after the third Tour Stage in Oberstdorf and hung onto it with a 12th place finish in Asiago and a 5th place finish in Saturday’s distance race in Val di Fiemme.
 
He started out on the last Stage with a 15 second lead on the Norwegian newcomer, Simen Oestensen (NOR) and showed his mental strength in the Final Climb where he grew his winning margin to 46 seconds. In the end, Oestensen had to give in to young Alexander Legkov (RUS) who finished 2nd in the last Stage and improved from 10th place to 2nd in the overall Rankings. The winner of the men’s Tour Sprint Ranking (silver jersey), Tor Arne Hetland (NOR), finished fifth overall, behind team mate Petter Northug.

With his 602 points, Angerer also took the lead in the overall World Cup standings ahead of Legkov (467) and Hetland (432), in addition to earning CHF 116 500 from the Tour.