TOBLACH, Italy (Jan. 6) – The U.S. Ski Team's Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) led the two person U.S. charge in 15th at Thursday's Tour de Ski stage six women's pursuit in Toblach. Teammate Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) finished 28th in the men's pursuit, while Switzerland's Dario Cologna and Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk won the stage.
The women's course was set looping throughout the cross country trails from the Olympic village of Cortina di Ampezzo to Toblach with Tour de Ski overall leader Kowalcyzk crossing the line first in 37:41.7. Thursday's win marked Kowalczyk's third Tour de Ski stage win. Italy's Arianna Follis and Marianna Longa finished behind Kowalczyk in second and third.
Randall used her strength to finish 15th with a time of a 42:01.5 over the 15k course. Randall's stage six result moved her up five spots to 12th from Wednesday in the overall standings.
"Fun pack skiing in the 15k today," Randall wrote on Facebook. "Felt good and attacked at the end. Moved up to 15th. Two more to go." This year's Tour is the first for the Americans going start to finish for the eight stages.
Overall Tour de Ski leader Cologna took top honors with a time of 1:20:06.9 over the 35k course, marking his second stage win. Sweden's Marcus Hellner and Norway's Petter Northug grabbed the last two spots on the podium in second and third.
Freeman finished stage six in 28th, moving up three spots to 17th in the overall standings. Teammate and sprinter, Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) did not start Thursday's race, bowing out of the 10 day Tour de Ski following the final sprint event Wednesday.
With only two stages remaining, the athletes will take Friday off and travel to Val di Fiemme for Saturday's men's and women's 15/10k.
Tour de Ski
Toblach, Italy – Jan. 6, 2011
Stage 6 – Pursuit
1. Dario Cologna, Switzerland, 1:20:06.9
2. Marcus Hellner, Sweden, 1:21:13.2
3. Petter Northug, Norway, 1:21:46.8
28. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH, 1:54:27.6
1. Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland, 37:41.7
2. Arianna Follis, Italy, 38:03.9
3. Marianna Longa, Italy, 38:04.3
15. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, 42:01.5
Overall Men's Standings
1. Dario Cologna, Switzerland
2. Marcus Hellner, Sweden
3. Daniel Rickardsson, Sweden
17. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH
Overall Women's Standings
1. Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland
2. Marit Bjoergen, Norway
3. Arianna Follis, Italy
12. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage
For complete results: www.fis-ski.com