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Follis and Northug won the sprint stage in Nove Mesto

Thu, Jan  1, 2009 - By FIS

Arianna Follis (ITA) and Petter Northug (NOR)  won the last sprint race of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear in Nove Mesto na Morave (CZE).

During an exciting competition on the 1,2 km course in the woods of Nove Mesto na Morave, Arianna Follis showed her strength and claimed victory clearly ahead of Petra Majdic (SVK) and Aino Kaisa Saarinen (FIN). Also in the final skied Magda Genuin (ITA, 4th place), who won the Qualification, Alena Prochazkova (SVK, 5th place) and Marianna Longa (ITA, 6th place).

Saarinen with her third place, took over the lead in the Tour overall ranking with 13,8 seconds ahead of Virpi Kuitunen (FIN). On third place Marit Bjoergen (NOR), 37,0 seconds behind Saarinen. Bjoergen finished today on 10th place.

Arianna Follis increased the lead of the Sprint ranking with being now 17 seconds ahead of Majdic and 22 seconds ahead of Aino Kaisa Saarinen.

In the men's race, Petter Northug was the fastest in the A Final and won the race ahead of his team mate and Sprint leader Tor Arne Hetland. Christian Zorzi (ITA) is back on the podium place and finished third. John Kristian Dahl (NOR) just edged out of the podium by finishing 4th, the 5th spot took the Tour overall leader Dario Cologna (SUI) and Nikolay Chebotko (KAZ) was 6th. 

In the overall Tour standing, Dario Cologna increased his lead to 23,5 seconds ahead of Vassili Rotchev (RUS) and 32,5 ahead of Eldar Roenning (NOR).

Tor Arne Hetland (NOR) is still leading the Sprint ranking with 11 seconds ahead of Petter Northug. On third place is Vassili Rotchev, 20 seconds behind Hetland.

The Tour Team Cup is led by Norway with an advantage over 2.34 min ahead of Italy. Finland is third.

Tomorrow will be the second rest day in the Tour de Ski. On 3rd of January the athletes will continue racing with the 6th stage in Val di Fiemme, a Mass start race over 10 km (ladies) and 20 km (men) in classical technique.

Quotes:

Arianna Follis (ITA, stage winner & Sprint leader):

"It was again an amazing race, I'm really satisfied with it and happy about the victory. The black shirt is nice to have;-) Now we go to Italy, we love it to be at home. I hope I will make a good classical race in Val di Fiemme and then I can push on the last climb."

Aino Kaisa Saarinen (FIN, Tour leader):

"I felt good today. I'm now in the red bib and I'm looking forward to the races in Italy. We are going now directly there, drive all the way to Italy and have tomorrow a rest day. On Saturday we have a Mass start in classical style and then the Final Climb - but I must say I'm not afraid of it."

Dario Cologna (SUI, Tour leader men):

"It was great to reach the final. I defended my overall lead and even increased it and now I can look forward to the last stages."

Petter Northug (NOR, stage winner):

"I'm for sure happy about my victory. My tactic was to ski as fast as possible and try to take the lead to avoid accidents. I had good ski's and the courses fit's me well here in Nove Mesto."

Tor Arne Hetland (NOR, Sprint leader):

"I was happy with today's race; it is not so good when you did like I did in the qualification. When you are behind like that you get the inner track, it is more difficult to move forward"
 
For complete results please visit www.fis-ski.com