Petra Majdic (SLO) claimed victory in the 5th stage of Tour de Ski in the ladies 1.3 km Sprint finals in Toblach.
Majdic won each of her races, and easily made it to the final. Trying to stay in front throughout the race, she had to sprint for her first place, as the two Italians, Arianna Follis and Magda Genuin attacked her. A photo finished claimed Majdic as the winner, just ahead of Follis and Genuin. The Slovenian athlete took her second Tour de Ski stage, both from sprints.
Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) did not qualify for the semifinals, loosing against Majdic and Anna Haag (SWE). Later on Haag, the winner of the Pursuit in Oberstdorf, was beaten in the semifinal, as Laure Barthelemy (FRA) took second position in their heat.
Kowalczyk is still leading the overall Tour standing, but the gap down to second place has decreased. Petra Majdic is 39.1 seconds behind her, followed by Charlotte Kalla who is 1:08:8 behind. In the sprint ranking Kowalczyk is as well in the lead 5 seconds ahead of Petra Majdic (SLO).
Petra Majdic (SLO):
"It's about time that I am strong in the sprint races. I think you all know that I am quite a strong sprinter for the last few years, and I want to especially thank my coach, Ivan Hudac, for believing in me when nobody else did. I dedicate my victory to my team.
I figured out how the race would go on in the quarter final, and realized I can win although I was in the front all the time. I was scared for a moment though, because I heard the speaker said Arianna was attacking. When we went body to body, I knew that I was in front as I was prepared to put my foot on the finish line.
I think I will pay taxes for today tomorrow. I will have a really hard race, especially because I'm starting quite a bit behind Kowalczyk but still a bit ahead of the rest. I know I have to pay for my performance I did today tomorrow, but it is worth it. When you are the winner, it is definitely worth it".
Justyna Kowalczyk (POL):
"It is not a good day for me nor for Charlotte Kalla today. I'm a bit disappointed because I wasn't even tired in the finish. Every time I tried to get in the front, Rydqvist was ahead of me, and I couldn't make it.
I don't know what will happen tomorrow, I think the first couple of kilometres I will not be so fast, but then I will be fighting. The rest day was really important for me, and I hope me not making it to the semifinals today it might give me an advantage as I can save my energy while the others are still competing".