Virpi Kuitunen from Finland and Dario Cologna from Switzerland are the new Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski leader after the second stage, the handicap start race in Oberhof over 10 km (ladies) and 15 km (men) in the classical technique.
Starting on 7th position into the race, Virpi Kuitunen was racing in a strong group with her team-mates Saarinen and Muranen as well as Marit Bjoergen and they closed soon the gap to the leaders. On the last few hundred meters Kuitunen was the attacking and claimed victory 2,2 seconds ahead of Marit Bjoergen. The third place took Justyna Kowalczyk (POL), 6,2 seconds behind the winner.
Kuitunen is in the lead of the Tour and wearing the red bib. For her it is the 5th Tour de Ski stage victory.
In the men's race, Dario Cologna won the 2nd stage and is now also in the lead of the Tour de Ski. His advantage to Axel Teichmann is 5,6 seconds. Devon Kershaw (CAN) was third in the today's race, he finished just ahead of Sami Jauhojärvi (FIN), who edge out from the podium in the photo finish with Kershaw.
Cologna closed his starting gap of nearly 14 seconds to Axel Teichmann soon and was racing together with him until the end of the race. In the last leg, Dario Cologna attacked and won the Tour stage and went into the red leader bib.
Tomorrow will be the third Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski stage, a city sprint race in Prague will take place. The starting time of the finals is at 14.45h.
Virpi Kuitunen (FIN):
"We did not have a team tactic, maybe it is an advantage for me that we stayed together and could avoid accidents. I told Marit that we have to avoid accidents in the sprint in Prague, like we had last year, and ski for the bonus seconds instead"
Marit Bjoergen (NOR):
"My tactic was to be behind the Finish girls, in 2 km I was behind them and could do a very good race. I had really good skis today, especially in the up hills. Skate sprint is good for me so I hope I can get some bonus seconds and do a good race. My goal is to be on the podium of the Tour de Ski"
Justyna Kowalczyk (POL):
"It was a fast start of the Finish and it was a hard race for me. I do not remember anything from the last 3 km. Tomorrow will be very hard for me, but I will fight for a good position"
Dario Cologna (SUI):
"I have a great feeling after the race. It is a great season start and I hope I can continue like this for the rest of the Tour de Ski. I had very good skis that were very important in the finish. I had better grip than Axel so I tried to beat him in the up hills. I am in good shape and also a good sprinter so I really look forward for tomorrow's race"
Axel Teichmann (GER):
"I am happy with the result, and I am very satisfied with this weekend in Oberhof. We (Axel and Dario) tried to stay away from the crowd behind, and keep the big gap to the group. I realized I had problems in the Brun up hill, and I had no chance to close Cologna's gap in the down hills. I will do my best in the sprint and try to qualify to get some bonus seconds"
Devon Kershaw (CAN):
"I felt extremely well, good track and good audience. I am happy that I am skiing classic technique so well. To be on the podium in a distance race was one of my goals this year. My goal with the Tour de Ski is to stay healthy and finish"
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