Cross-country skier Teresa Stadlober was able to convince in fourth place for the first time on Friday at the start of the final weekend of the Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme in the absence of the Norwegian aces. The cyclist was 2.5 seconds behind the third-placed Swede Ebba Andersson in the 10 km mass start in the classic technique. Winner Natalia Neprjajewa was 6.6 seconds ahead of Stadlober, the Russian won 2.4 seconds ahead of the German Katharina Henning.
Stadlober spoke of a “cool” race after her best season position so far. “I knew that if everything went well, I could run up here and a lot of things went well today. I’m super happy.” However, the gaps that she had to close would have cost too much strength, said the 27-year-old.
In the overall tour standings, the American Jessica Diggins continues to lead, this time only finishing ninth. Before the classic sprint on Saturday and the final skating hill climb on the Alpe Cermis, Stadlober is more than three minutes behind Diggins eleventh. The US American Rosie Brennan (31st), who was previously second, slipped back to seventh place.
The top nation Norway is not at the start of the tour due to corona concerns. On Friday, however, was Linn Svahn, the victorious Swede in the first two stages, gave a negative PCR test after a positive rapid test and was 13.
Alexander Bolshunov’s winning streak continued for men in the Italian Fiemme Valley. The defending champion from Russia celebrated his fifth success en suite in the classic mass start over 15 km just ahead of local hero Francesco de Fabiani (+1.8 seconds) and his compatriot Alexej Chervotkin (+3.7). ÖSV runner Mika Vermeulen landed in 44th place. In the tour standings, Bolschunow is now more than two and a half minutes ahead of Frenchman Maurice Manificat.