Tour de Ski Winner Justyna Kowalczyk from Poland claimed victory in yesterday's 10 km Individual start competition in classical technique in the Estonian wintersport town Otepää.
The athlete of the year in Poland finished on the demanding 2 x 5 km course in 26:52.7min, just 4,2 ahead of the Norwegian Marit Bjoergen. Aino Kaisa Saarinen (FIN) took the third place, already 29,9 seconds behind the winner. It was a great battle for the third place between Saarinen and Charlotte Kalla which was decided only on the last two kilometers for the Finnish top athlete.
For the 26-year-old Kowalczyk, who was leading the entire race, it was the 4th World Cup victory in this season including the Tour de Ski win. Marit Bjoergen (NOR) startet compare to Kowalczyk a bit slower but then increased the speed to the end.
With the today's victory, Kowalczyk increased her lead in the overall World Cup ranking to 122 points ahead to Petra Majdic (SLO), who finished today on the 5th place. On third place is currently Aino Kaisa Saarinen.
I feel good today but I am also really tired. I had a cold after Tour de Ski and here I was thinking maybe I win, but it is not possible. But this is my special place, this is Otepää. This track is the hardest track in the world, people are nice, every time it is nice here, I was training here in summer times. Tomorrow I will compete in sprint, but I don't know what can happen. Next week I will compete in Rybinsk, then we have training camp in Canmore and make the World Cup there before leaving to Whistler.
It was a good race for me. I have not been competing since Rogla. It was a good start again so the feeling is good and I think the shape is very good. I did a lot of training during and after Christmas and this is a good start back into the competitions. I will compete tomorrow and next week we have national championships, so I am not going to Rybinsk and then already to the Olympic Games.I like Otepää, here are a lot of people around the track.
I had quite fast start and after 4 to 7 kilometers I had some bad moments, I did not have any power, but the last kilometers I went very fast and was fighting for podium. I got still a lot of positive energy, I worked hard and my dream came true. This week I had flu, but fortunately it did not get worse and I could start. In sprint I want to be also on podium. Next week we have Finnish championships, I will ski the sprint there. Then I am going to pre-olympic camp for two weeks in Toblach before I move to Whistler.