Strong comeback from Bauer
Lukas Bauer, the current World Cup leader and Tour de Ski winner from Czech Republic, claimed victory in a dominating manner in the 15 km individual start in classical technique in Otepää.
Bauer, who wasn't competing the World Cup races since the Tour de Ski due to sickness, won clearly 13,7 ahead the home favourite Jaak Mae (EST). On third position finished the 24-year-old Ville Nousiainen from Finland, 1.05,2 minute behind the winner. The competition was conducted in soft snow conditions and with temperature over 0 degrees.
Lukas Bauer was attacking from the beginning and pushing all the 15 km very hard. He was at each intermediate time in the lead, while Jaak Mae started slower and was ranked 9th at the first intermediate point. Ville Nousiainen skied the whole race on the same level and was from 2,3 km to the finish always on the third position.
For Lukas Bauer it was the sixth World Cup victory in his career. Jaak Mae took his first podium in this season while Ville Nousiainen finished for the second time there after being second in the 30 km Mass start race Rybinsk (RUS) in December.
Lukas Bauer enlarged as well his lead in the overall World Cup ranking. He has now 916 points while his contender René Sommerfeldt, who finished in today's race 17th , has 621 points. Third ranked is Tor Arne Hetland with 572 points.
In the distance World Cup race Bauer is also in front with 466 points followed by Axel Teichmann (GER, 369) and Valerio Checchi (ITA, 332).
In the Nations Cup, Norway (6427 points) is in the lead ahead of Germany (4281 points) and Russia (4218).
The next World Cup competition will be tomorrow, Sunday 10th – Sprint in the classical technique.Quotes:Lukas Bauer (CZE):
I am happy, that I was little bit faster than Jaak. I didn't expect to catch Axel Teichmann, I was surprised when I saw him. It was bit hard after Tour de Ski, the problem was my health. Than I started my training but this week, I was getting again a little bit sick. Three days ago, I decided to go to Otepää and will start at this competition. That was a good choice.Jaak Mae (EST):
My race plan was like usual – I'm not so fast from the start, but I went as fast as I could. The track was slow and it suited me. After 2 km I heard I was leader. It was very positive and after that I kept the pressure on. Every mark was very important. Thanks to service team, everything was perfect. I know the track very well and also I asked to make the track harder. Last two years my best results have came from weather like that. Third place at the Olympics is much more important to me than the second place here. At this season, this a good position for me.
Nousiainen Ville (FIN):
It was the second podium place for me. Tactic was easy - go fast. I'm very satisfied with the race but I was afraid of other skiers. I like the crowd here. I have trained a lot for this season. Hopefully I will get some more good places.
Virpi Kuitunen back to the top
The World Cup leader Virpi Kuitunen from Finland won the 10 km individual start race in the classical technique in the Estonian Ski village Otepää and extend her lead in the overall World Cup ranking.
Virpi Kuitunen claimed victory on the 2x 5 km course in Otepää 9.9 seconds ahead of her team mate, the 29-year-old Aino-Kaisa Saarinen. Third place took the Norwegian youngster Therese Johaug, 17, 6 seconds behind Kuitunen.
Kuitunen started very strong and had the best time at the first intermediate point at 0.9 km. Than the both Norwegian skiers Astrid Jacobsen and Therese Johaug took over the lead at the second intermediate point (2,3km), but Kuitunen counter and controlled the race from the rest of the race, while Astrid Jacobsen collapsed to the end of the race and finished on 12th place. Claudia Nystad, who was skiing with five year old ski, was edged out of the podium with only 1.4 seconds.
For Kuitunen, the second of this year's Tour de Ski, it was the second World Cup victory in this season after the success in the 10 km classic in Davos. Saarinen took her second World Cup podium place in this season while Therese Johaug managed her first one. For Johaug, it was also the second podium place in her career.
Virpi Kuitunen enlarged her World Cup lead and is now leading with 919 points. Charlotte Kalla (SWE), who finished 16th in the today's race, has now 810 points. On the third place follows Arianna Follis, who didn't compete in Otepää, with 723 points.
In the distance World Cup, Virpi Kuitunen (371 points) is now also back into the lead. Thanks to her fifth place in the today's race, Jusytna Kowalczyk (POL) is second with 363 points and on third position is Valentina Shevchenko (UKR) with 346 points.
Number of participants/ participating nations: 58 ladies/23 nationsQuotes:Virpi Kuitunen (FIN):
The result is the best. Definitely, it was a tough race. I had little more power in the end and I turned it to my favour. It's quite common to be on podium in classic race together with Aino Kaisa and it is good for the team. One day we expect to have a blue podium. Main goal is to win overall World Cup and each race is important. I am tired, so I will do what can.Aino Kaisa Saarinen (FIN):
Like always, I hit the podium, maybe next time it will be my turn. These tracks are very skiable and very good for me. I want to be on podium every time in classic races. In skating its much harder, but I am still trying. In overall World Cup I will be satisfied with top ten.Therese Johaug (NOR):
It was fun but very hard race. It was all very good. The course was really tough and I started to push from the beginning. Last year it was my first World Cup and I was 8th, now I was 3rd, so I am happy about that.
For complete results, please visit http://www.fis-ski.com.