Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) won the ladies Prologue in Oberhof over 2.8 km in free technique today.
The polish ski star, who is currently second in the overall World Cup ranking, finished 1.5 seconds ahead of Charlotte Kalla (SWE). Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (NOR) took the third spot, 4.8 seconds behind the winner.
Aino Kaisa Saarinen (FIN) with bib number 34 had the third best time at 1.4 km and was leading the race for a while. Saarinen ended on 6th place, right behind Yulia Tchekaleva (RUS, 5th spot) and Riitta-Liisa Roponen (FIN, 4th place).
For Kowalczyk it was the fourth stage win in her career and the third in the Tour de Ski (one time she claimed victory in the World Cup Final).
Kowalczyk is now the current Tour de Ski leader, and will wear the red bib in tomorrow’s 10 km classical Pursuit. Due to the bonus seconds which were awarded today in the finish, she will start 6.5 seconds ahead of Charlotte Kalla and 14.8 seconds ahead of Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen.
In the Tour sprint ranking, Kowalczyk collected 15 points, Charlotte Kalla, 10 points and Astrid Jacobsen with 5 points.
Weather conditions: -3 degrees, light snow
Snow conditions: packed snow
Justyna Kowalczyk (POL)
"It was really hard before the finish and my coach told me I was 1 second behind Charlotte, so I was surprised when I saw the result. You start and finish like in a sprint, and I am very satisfied that I am in the top. It is really nice to be number 1 in the Tour, definitely a good start. I see Charlotte, Astrid and Majdic as my strongest contenders for the rest of the Tour. I don't have any specific strategy for tomorrow, I will think about it tonight and you will see tomorrow".
Charlotte Kalla (SWE)
"I am very happy with today's race because I did not feel that strong in La Clusaz. I think Christmas at home helped me relax and to focus on the Tour. It’s a big difference from 2 years ago when I won the tour and now, but I hope I will have a good shape throughout the Tour. Justyna will definitely be strong during the whole Tour, and she is my hardest contender. I hope to do a good race and get a good feeling tomorrow, as 10 km classic suits me well".
Astrid Jacobsen (NOR)
"I think I did a strong race, my legs were strong, I started hard but not too hard. I am happy with the race, first of all for my confident. My two previous seasons have not been the strongest, and it is a reason for it, but now I know it is possible again. Tomorrow will be hard, but at least I can start before the chicken farm comes. My wish is that my legs will be as strong as they were today, and then attack. I don't plan to wait for anyone. My goal during the Tour will be to not have any crazy bad days. I think I am able to ski well in all stage’s except for the last one. I think I can fight close to the top the whole time".