Catching up time against Therese Johaug? That wasn't really possible with this sprint ... "You can't call this a sprint, only the length is of a sprint!", said Therese Johaug and sprint specialists like Lucas Chanavat (FRA, Fischer ***) chose in interviews the same words. Accordingly, the course suited the Norwegian, even if she would have liked a proper sprint course for fairness in the Ski Tour. Even in the prologue, Therese Johaug was 4.5 seconds faster than Heidi Weng, but in the quarter-finals she was unable to show off her strengths at first: As a distance skier, she didn't get out of the starting gates so quickly and overtaking was difficult on the only 666 meter long course with a small ascent, a steep curve and a long ascent, which was already referred as Mördarbakken. In the end, however, she was able to succeed with Weng, as in the semifinals, even though she skied a few meters behind the others after the start passage. In the long and steep climb, the others played into her cards: If the athletes had spread out again over the entire track, Johaug would have had to ski slalom again - but all women lined up on the right and thus on the left everything was free for Johaug to overtake and the safe entry into the finals with Heidi Weng.
In the final, everything remained the same: With a reaction time of 0.59 seconds, Johaug was by far the slowest at the start and was again slightly behind the first five after the first small climb and the steep curve. Linn Svahn (SWE, Fischer **) and Jonna Sundling (SWE, Fischer **) initially led the race. Now Johaug started her attack again, used a gap in the middle, shortly afterwards a gap opened on the left: Johaug was now side by side with Heidi Weng and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (NOR) in the lead. But the teammates could not keep up with Johaug's pace, so the Ski Tour leader took her first "sprint" victory of her career with a clear lead. Second place went to Heidi Weng, who is 1:07 minutes behind Johaug in the Ski Tour. Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen provided a purely Norwegian podium. Jonna Sundling finished fourth and Linn Svahn came in sixth. The 31-year-old Johaug cheered extensively about her success and ran up and down in the finish while the other five athletes were still completely exhausted on the ground. "It was a crazy race. As you know, I like going uphill. It was my day! You can't call it a sprint, but it's nice to be on the top of the podium. I am very happy", said Johaug.
Martin Løwstrøm Nyenget (NOR, Fischer ***), Hans Christer Holund (NOR, Fischer ***) and also Dario Cologna (SUi, Fischer ***) didn't make the cut into the quarter finals among the top ten in the overall, others like the sprint World Cup runner-up Lucas Chanavat or Alexander Bolshunov (RUS) had a hard time. While the Frenchman was surprisingly strong in the heats with his teammates, Alexander Bolshunov was out in the semi-finals after a collision with Simen Hegstad Krüger. In the final, Federico Pellegrino (ITA) and Lucas Chanavat were first in the lead, when it became steep, Johannes Høsflot Klæbo attacked and opened a gap to the others. Pål Golberg (NOR) finished fourth, thus maintaining the lead in the Ski Tour. Alexander Bolshunov is 23 seconds behind him after his eighth place. Lucas Chanavat had completely dead legs in the climb, as also Erik Valnes (NOR, Fischer ***), who both reached the finish far behind. "It was a tough race," said Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, "but it was fun and I gave everything in the end. I took it up before the climb and then the gap was there. It was a good day. It's good that the confidence is back. I hope that this will continue in the next few days."
* = Fischer skis
** = Fischer skis and bindings
*** = Fischer skis, bindings and boots