Mikko Kokslien (NOR)
Mikko Kokslien (NOR)
Björn Kircheisen (GER)
Akito Watabe (JPN)


Mikko Kokslien (NOR, Fischer skis and boots) celebrated victory in Almaty during the first World Cup weekend ever in Kazakhstan. He won the individual race ahead of Björn Kircheisen (GER, Fischer skis and boots) and Akito Watabe (JPN, Fischer skis and boots).
Premiere in Kazakhstan
For the first time the World Cup athletes travelled to Kazakhstan not far from the chinese boarder where the World Cup is held at a new ski jump and new tracks. Already after the ski jump it was obvious that it will become an exciting cross-country race because many fast skiers like Watabe, Kircheisen, Kokslien and Lamy Chappuis were in the leading group.
At the beginning four athletes with Watabe, Kircheisen, Eric Frenzel (GER, Fischer) and Maxime Laheurte (FRA, Fischer Ski und Schuhe) were ahead and set the pace until Kircheisen and the Japanese escaped and the others couldn't follow. Frenzel tumbled in the first part of race race, lost his rhythmus and fell out of contention. The Frenchman couldn't follow either while the chasing group with Kokslien powered around the track and closed the gap more and more.

Kokslien escaped
Two kilometres before finish Mikko Kokslien matched the leaders and didn't stay with them for a long time. The Norwegian soon escaped and extended his lead up to seven seconds at the finish line ahead of Kircheisen. Watabe finished third, four seconds behind the German. "It was very tough in skiing, the time change gets to me and I felt the smog heavily. Mikko was a class of his own today, I have to accept it", said Kircheisen. Maxime Laheurte came in fifth, seventh went to Johannes Rydzek (GER, Fischer skis and boots) followed by Jan Schmid (NOR, Fischer skis, boots and poles). Mario Stecher (AUT, Fischer skis and boots) finished ninth.
Gundersen, Almaty (KAZ):
1. Mikko Kokslien
NOR 00.25.12,70
2. Björn Kircheisen
GER 00.25.19,60
3. Akito Watabe
JPN 00.25.23,30
4. Jason Lamy Chappuis
FRA 00.25.37,00
5. Maxime Laheurte
FRA 00.25.40,60
6. Wilhelm Denifl
AUT 00.25.43,30
7. Johannes Rydzek
GER 00.25.50,20
8. Jan Schmid
NOR 00.25.55,60
9. Mario Stecher
AUT 00.25.59,40
10. Sebastien Lacroix
FRA 00.26.07,20
11. Fabian Riessle
GER 00.26.16,70
12. Jörgen Graabak
NOR 00.26.18,90
13. Miroslav Dvorak
CZE 00.26.19,10
14. Alessandro Pittin
ITA 00.26.20,30
15. Francois Braud
FRA 00.26.29,40