Cross-Country Skiing - Kowalczyk wins again as Tour de Ski title looms

Justyna Kowalczyk took her second successive Tour de Ski stage victory in Toblach and third overall during this year’s event as she edges ever closer to a fourth straight overall title.

Cross-Country Skiing - Kowalczyk wins again as Tour de Ski title looms

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Justyna Kowalczyk (Imago)

The 29-year-old was the woman to beat at the start of the Tour having won the past three crowns, that even more so after Marit Bjoergen pulled out after suffering an irregular heartbeat.

And the Polish cross-country skier hasn’t disappointed asserting her dominance as the Tour moved to Italy for the 15km freestyle pursuit on Thursday and the 3.3km classic individual on Friday.

Having won the 9km classic pursuit, in between American Kikkan Randall’s victories in the prologue and sprint, Kowalczyk comfortably triumphed on Thursday and repeated the trick 24 hours later.

The last of the field to start, courtesy of being the Tour de Ski leader, Kowalczyk attacked the fifth stage 3.3km classic individual to win by 16.5 seconds after posting 10:08.1 minutes in Italy.

Krista Lahteenmaki of Finland finished second for her first top-three finish of this season’s Tour de Ski while Norway’s Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen was just 0.6 behind in third.

Anne Kylloenen was a further 0.6 adrift in fourth with a third Finnish skier Aino-Kaisa Saarinen fifth ahead of Therese Johaug, third overall, who finished sixth with American Randall seventh.

And, after making up time on Kowalczyk on Thursday, 2008 Tour de Ski winner Charlotte Kalla, who is second overall, lost a drastic amount after finishing 25.3 behind in ninth.

With just two stages to go in Val di Fiemme on Saturday and Sunday, the win and bonus seconds has seen Kowalczyk extend her overall lead from 23.3 to 1:03.6 ahead of Norwegian Johaug.

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