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Kowalczyk the new Tour leader

Sun, Jan  3, 2010 - By FIS

In the second race of the Tour de Ski, a handicap start race over 10km classic, Justyna Kowalczyk took the victory and is now as well in the red bib of the Tour de Ski leader. The Polish athlete finished the today's race 2,8 seconds ahead of Aino Kaisa Saarinen from Finland. The third place took Kristin Stoermer Steira (NOR), 5,7 seconds behind the winner. The inrun of todays race is as well the new Tour de Ski overall standing.

Majdic stayed behind

In the tight race, the winner of yesterday's race Petra Majdic couldnd't follow the leading group and finished as 10th in the race with a gap of 35,7 seconds to Kowalczyk. But the Slovenian athlete is still in the lead of the Tour Sprint ranking.

With the today's victory, Justyna Kowalczyk is now as well in the lead of the overall World Cup ranking ahead of Marit Bjoergen (NOR) who is not competing in this year's Tour de Ski.

The third stage in the Tour de Ski will take place tomorrow in Oberhof with a sprint in the classical technique. This race format was never in the schedule of the Tour de Ski.

Justyna Kowalczyk (POL)

It was not an easy race for me today. First half of the competition I did not feel well. I felt tired and could not get my pace. When I heared that Saarinen is 10 seconds behind, 5 seconds it was difficult. I hope I will perform well tomorrow. During the Tour I keep focused only on the upcoming race. I do not speculate what will happen on Alpe Cermis. I have to go there first and it will be a long way. I would rather skip sprint in Prague as I like long big uphills. I know there is new course in Prague which is not so flat as last year. I hope I will fight Petra again.

Petra Majdic (SLO)

It was a very tough race from me. From the begining I was not feeling well. My upper body was not working properly. I noticed that in the first uphill. I had also problems with my technique. Paticularly to race straight and keep my head up. When Justyna caught me I was fighting a lot to stick to her. I managed this in first two laps. The 3rd one was over my possibilities today. I had to stay behind. To race against Justyna it is always difficult.

My waxing team is the best but even them they make small mistakes and I could not rely on my skis in the uphills. Speed of my skiis was excellent though. My plan for this afternoon is to get some rest, recharge my batteries. I will start thinking about tomorrow‘ race in the evening. I like the Sprint Leader Bib very much but I want the Tour Leader Bib back from Justyna.