Czech Lukas Bauer became the first man to win two Tour de Ski titles with an impressive climbing performance in Val di Fiemme.
Bauer, who claimed his first victory two years ago, started the final stage of the 10-day Tour just over eight seconds behind the leader Petter Northug. But he 24-year-old Norwegian was not so strong, Bauer overtook him and then hammered down his advantage to the finish on the Alpe Cermis. Northug, who was also second last year, finished 1:16min behind while reigning champion, Switzerland's Dario Cologna, moved from fourth to third on the challenging 10km final stage to complete the podium.
Northug took the victory in the Tour Sprint standing ahead of his team mate Simen Oestensen and Markus Hellner from Sweden who finished today on 4th place.
In the World Cup overall ranking, Northug is clearly in the lead with 1060 points. On second place is Lukas Bauer (663 points) and close behind Markus Hellner (627 points).
After yesterday's race I felt quite strong and belived in myself. I felt I could be better than Petter in the Climb as I think he is stronger in sprints and I am better in uphill. It was not my plan to skip so many races before Christmas but I had health problems with my asthma and breathing in general. Therefore I did not compete and was one month withou any training. I was worried that I might have had too long interruption in my preparation. For me value of Tour de Ski is very hugh. It is a good program with 10 days of racing. My main goal now is Olympics. I want to be in a good shape to fight with the best for medals. I would like to return home with a medal.
I feel quite tired after the race. I tried to follow Lukas all the way but after first 500 - 600 m on Cermis i realized I did not have a chance. Than I focused on fighting for second place. I did not want to allow the second group behind me to catch me. The Final Climb is very tough but there is also very nice atmospehere. I will try in upcoming days. When I feel relaxed enough I will start training. First race before the Olympics will be for me Canmore. I hope I will be well prepared for the biggest highlight of the season. I would like to win the overall World Cup standing as well.
I am very happy and satisfied about my third place. I guess it was the maximum of what was possible as Lukas and Petter were to far ahead. I felt very good and it was a good race for me. I had enough power in the finish. Now I will rest a while at home and I am looking forward for that. Then we will have a training camp in St. Moritz. I will skip World Cups in Otepää and Rybinsk. We will afterwards go to Canmore.