Claudia Nystad and Axel Teichmann (both Germany) won the first race, the prologue over 2,8 km (ladies) and 3,6 km (men), of the third edition of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear.
In the free technique Prologue Claudia Nystad dominated the race on the women's side. She finished 1,1 seconds ahead of Arianna Follis (ITA) and 2,3 seconds ahead of both third placed athletes, Justyna Kowalcyzk (POL) and Petra Majdic (SLO). On the challenging course in Oberhof, Claudia Nystad took her first Tour Stage victory and is now in the lead of the overall Tour de Ski ranking with 6:02.2.min and thanks to total of 15 bonus seconds, she will start tomorrow 6,1 seconds ahead of Follis tomorrow.
All the Tour Favorites are among the top ten and haven't lost more than 30 seconds today. It will be an exciting second Stage tomorrow.
On the men's side, Axel Teichmann (GER) claimed victory on his home course over 3,6 km clearly 8,2 seconds ahead of Dario Cologna (SUI). The third spot went to Norwegian Petter Northug, 13.0 seconds behind the winner.
The home favorite Teichmann was clearly the strongest athlete and took his first Tour stage victory after being two times second in a Tour Stage in the previous years. For the runner up Dario Cologna it was his first podium in the Tour - so far, Cologna finished just once on the podium in a World Cup event in his career.
Teichmann will now be the rabbit in the handicap start tomorrow with a time advantage of 13,2 seconds ahead of Dario Cologna who will chase him. Northug will start 23,0 seconds behind the winner as the top three received 15 - 10 - 5 bonus seconds added to their racing time scores.
Tomorrow will be the second Tour de Ski stage, a handicap start race over 10 km (ladies) and 15 km (men) in classical style. The start of the first race is at 12.45h local time (ladies race)
Claudia Nystad (GER):
"When you win you always feel good! The plan was to not ski to fast in the beginning, but I heard directly that I was fast. It for sure helped that I am at home, we have tests here twice a year so I know the hill very well. Tomorrow it is a tough race, and I will do my best.
The biggest goal for me is to stay healthy; I desperately want to finish the Tour de Ski."
Arianna Follis (ITA):
"I am really satisfied with today's race. The race is very tough, now we will see, we are at the beginning of the Tour de Ski so everything can change. I knew in the beginning that I was close to the leader, but in the end I was very tired. Tomorrow is difficult for me, I hope I can stay with the others to get some seconds on the leader. This year I hope I can get to the podium as I did last year"
Justyna Kowalczyk (POL):
"The track was not so good for me, skating is number two for me, I am best in the classic races. My goal with Tour de Ski is to be better than last year when I finished 7th."
Petra Majdic (SLO):
"Free technique is good for me, it is amazing start of the season, and in four starts I have three podiums. The race was too flat and too fast for me, but I am really satisfies, I had some problems in the last little uphill, but still I am third! My goal with the Tour de Ski is to finish top ten; I must fight every race with the other ladies"
Axel Teichmann (GER):
"I felt very comfortable today, I pushed it hard in the beginning. I stayed really relaxed in the finish area, I heard that Cologna was before me in the start, but the plan for me with this day was to stay on the podium. It is a big advantage to race before the crowd and fans here at home in Oberhof"
Dario Cologna (SUI):
"I am very happy with this 2nd place and I hope I can stay in this good shape the rest of the Tour de Ski. Axel was very strong in the finish, it was a good race. I am not in so good shape in the classic technique, but maybe I will start fast to try to reach Axel"
Petter Northug (NOR):
"I did not have a very good start today, but for tomorrow since I am top three I will for sure be calm at the start. The plan today was to go out hard. I feel that I can go faster when my body gets in a better shape. Axel was skiing the whole race very fast today, maybe he had super skis."