Norwegian Eldar Roenning is the winner of the 15 km classical race in Otepää. The 28-year-old top skier finished on the 3 x 5 km course in a time of 37:27.2min, 15,1 seconds faster than the second Daniel Rickardsson from Sweden. Third spot took the Russian Maxim Vylegzhanin, who was 17,6 second slower than the winner.
Fastest start into the tight and exciting race on the challenging course in Otepää was Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR), who was leading the competition until after km 10. But then team mate Eldar Roenning took over the lead for the last few kilometers. As well Daniel Rickardsson started a bit slower into the race with the eight best time after 5 km. Maxim Vylegzhanin was always among the top three and could hold his speed until the finish straight. Home favorite Andrus Veerpalu took the fifth spot with 24,6 seconds gap to Roenning.
For Roenning it was the 6th World Cup victory and the first podium in the season whilst Daniel Rickardsson finished for the third time this year among the top three in a World Cup race.
Dario Cologna, who is currently recovering from sickness, is leading the overall World Cup ranking with 1197 points. Petter Northug (NOR) , the eigth of today’s race is second with 738 points while Lukas Bauer (CZE) is third with 698 points.
In the distance World Cup, the top three haven’t changes since Tour de Ski. Cologna is in the lead ahead of Alexander Legkov (RUS) and Bauer.
Weather: cloudy, -6° C
Snow Conditions: packed natural and artificial snow
Eldar Roenning (NOR)
I’m very happy with my victory. It was a very tough race. I had a great feeling since he morning. In Otepää you have to have excellent skis and I had them today. I felt fast today but Martin (Johnsurd Sundby) started before me and was pushing very hard. I did not know if Maxim started before or after me. I found out when I came to finish. It was a great feeling to win. I will start in tomorrow's qualification. I will see how it goes. I feel quite tired after today.
Daniel Rickardsson (SWE)
It was the tough race from the start till the end. I am happy I finished second. After Tour de Ski I got sick and spent first 5 days of the high altitude training in Livigno in bed. When I recovered I had a very good training camp. Otepää is a very nice place with nice tracks. The atmosphere alongside the course was excellent. It is always fin to compete here. Now I will go back home to Sweden. I will train and in two weeks we have the Swedish Championships. Then we go to Seiser Alm for the training camp.
Maxim Vylegzhanin (RUS)
I am very satisfied with third place today. The course in Otepää is famous for its difficulty. Especially the part at the jumping hill is very tough. Before Oslo I will train a lot. After Rybinsk we will go for a training camp in Sjusjoen, Norway.