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Stage victory for Follis and Hetland

Tour de Ski

Tue, Dec  30, 2008 - By FIS

Arianna Follis (ITA) and Tor Arne Hetland (GER) are the stage winners of the city sprint in Prague, the third Stage of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear.

During an exciting competition on the 1,3 km course at the Expo Area, Arianna Follis claimed victory ahead of Aino Kaisa Saarinen from Finland. Petra Majdic (SLO) completed the podium by finishing third. Also in the A-Final were Pirjo Muranen (FIN, 4th place), Marthe Kristoffersen (NOR, 5th place) and Claudia Nystad (GER, 6th place), who fell in the second to last curve. The Tour leader after the 2nd stage, Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) did not advance beyond her quarterfinal and finished in total in 18th place.

Arianna Follis also took over the overall lead of the Tour de Ski. She is at the moment 8 seconds ahead of Aino Kaisa Saarinen and 13,1 seconds ahead of Marit Bjoergen (NOR).

In the Tour Sprint ranking, Follis is leading with 60 seconds, 13 seconds ahead of Claudia Nystad and Petra Majdic.

In the men's race, the ski veteran Tor Arne Hetland (NOR) claimed victory ahead of Vassili Rotchev (RUS) and Jean-Marc Gaillard (FRA).The fourth spot took Sami Jauhojaervi (FIN), John Kristian Dahl took the 5th place and Eldar Roenning (both Norway) finished in sixth position. The current overall Tour de Ski leader, Dario Cologna (SUI) skied in the B-Final and took the 8th place.

Cologna is still leading the overall Tour ranking with a lead of 15,4 seconds ahead of the runner up Vasilli Rotchev (RUS) and Jean Marc Gaillard (FRA) in third position, 18,1 seconds behind Cologna.

The Tour Sprint standing is led by Tor Arne Heltand with 1:00min. In second place is Vassili Rotchev, just 4 seconds behind Hetland. Tthird is Jean-Marc Gaillard (FRA) 52 seconds behind.

The Tour Team Cup leader is Norway (2:36:09.4), followed by Italy (+1:03.3) and Finland (+1:11.1).

Today will be the first rest day in the Tour de Ski. On 31st of December the athletes will continue racing with the 4th Stage in Nove Mesto, an Individual start race over 10 km (ladies) and a 15 km (men) in classical technique.


Tor Arne Hetland (NOR):

"It felt really well today. I like Prague, I did a good race here last year, and this year I won. I raced well in Düsseldorf, and now I raced well here, so finally I am in good shape! The snow conditions were fine. It is an eternity for me up to the lead in the overall standings, so I do not think that is possible for me. But there is still one more sprint race."

Dario Cologna (SUI):

"I am very satisfied with my eight place today and happy to still be in the red shirt of the overall lead. Now we have a rest day and can relax a bit. I have to ski fast in Nove Mesto, there are many strong skiers behind me."

Devon Kershaw (CAN):

"It was very tight but I felt good. What happened was that I made the move on Heller (SWE) to early, and I slipped on some ice so we both fell. I am very disappointed at the moment, but I have to recover that quickly. There's a 15 km race just around the corner"

Arianna Follis (ITA):

"I knew that I would have a good chance here in Prague. In the qualification I tried to start quick to take the lead. Later in the finals I changed tactic, there it was good to be little in behind in the beginning of the race. My goal is still the podium, and there is still one more sprint and that is good for me"