Swedish Marcus Hellner claimed stage victory today in Oberhof over 3.75 km Free.
The Swede was third after the first 1.4 km, 3.8 seconds behind Petukhov. In the second part of the prologue he speeded up and clinched victory by a margin of 2 sec over Alexei Petukhov (RUS). Petter Northug finished third +2.9 behind Hellner. Hellner is ranked fourth in the overall World Cup Standing, Petukhov 11th and Northug 18th.
Hellner is the current Tour de Ski leader, and will wear the red bib in tomorrows 15 km Classical Pursuit. In the Tour sprint ranking, Hellner collected 15 points, Pethukov, 10 points and Northug 5 points.
Hellner will start 7 seconds ahead of Pethukov and 12.9 seconds ahead of Northug. Perthukov had the best time at 1.4 km followed by Jesper Modin (SWE) who took the 33rd place. Dario Cologna finished 7th, followed by Robin Duvillard (FRA), Loris Frasnelli (ITA) and Alexander Legkov who finished 4th.
Weather conditions: -4 degrees, light snow
Snow conditions: hard packed snow
" The red color is good, but I like the black one better. It was a good race, and I feel like I am in better shape than the last week before Christmas.
Over Christmas I have trained a bit, eaten a lot of Christmas food and relaxed, I guess it did me well. I thought about everyone's chasing me tomorrow, and I know that there are a lot of very good skiers behind me but I will do my best to maintain my position. I was 4th last Tour de Ski, Iam hoping to be in the top lead this year, but on the other hand I know it is hard for me with all the classic disciplines":
"I'm quite happy with the race. I had teeth problems over Christmas, and they are not so good. Today I felt strong and it feels good. For the overall Tour I know I have no chance, and my focus will be on sprint points. I will leave the Tour after Toblach's sprint".
"It was a good race, I had a good feeling. I feel my shape is good now and I look forward to continue the Tour. I started hard today but felt that I could continue throughout the race. I've trained a lot in the start of December, over Christmas I relaxed but I'm in a good shape now.
Tactic for tomorrow: Legkov is starting behind me, then we all know what's going to happen. I need to follow him to the finish line tomorrow, and I think he will race good tomorrow as well.
Tour de Ski continues tomorrow with Pursuit classic technique. The women will ski 10 km and the men 15 km. The weather will be similar to today, light snow, cloudy and -4 degrees.