After a short-term change of the route due to stormy gusts of wind in the Storlien area (SWE), the women were finally able to do a 35-kilometer mass start - just three kilometers less than originally planned. At first, everything went as expected: Therese Johaug skied up and away from kilometer three and was 40 seconds ahead after half the distance. Then the tide turned, as did Therese Johaug, who kept turning around as her lead over the well-working trio of chasers with Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, Heidi Weng and Ebba Andersson (SWE, Fischer ***) shrank. Soon, however, Østberg went alone in pursuing Johaug and came closer and closer to her. In the end, Johaug could only breathe a sigh of relief and smile on the home straight - she saved only four seconds of her lead to the finish. Johaug is now 2:06 minutes ahead of Østberg in the Ski Tour classification. "It was a very good race. I started quickly, but it was pretty hard, there was a lot of wind. But on the way back it was more pleasant. Six kilometers before the finish I knew the time gap to Ingvild, after that I have heard nothing and I just skied my pace. In the end it was only four seconds, that was really tight finally", said Johaug. Heidi Weng reached the finish line 1:21 minutes behind and lost second place to Østberg, she is now 2:39 minutes behind Johaug. Ebba Andersson was fourth, two minutes behind, and is also fourth with 4:15 minutes behind in the overall standings. Teresa Stadlober (AUT, Fischer ***), who fought for fifth place with Jessie Diggins (USA) up to three kilometers before finish, finally came in ninth.
In the men's race on an identical route, the preliminary decision was made at kilometer 20 with the bonus sprint. There seven Norwegians kept up the pace ahead of Alexander Bolshunov and Sjur Røthe (NOR) finally opened a gap with the Russian and Simen Hegstad Krüger (NOR). Bolshunov was so fast that the Norwegians had no chance: he escaped and extended his lead more and more. In the end, the Russian won 51 seconds ahead of a ten-man chasing group and took the lead in the Ski Tour. Johannes Høsflot Klæbo won the sprint for second place ahead of Emil Iversen and Martin Løwstrøm Nyenget (NOR, Fischer ***). Dario Cologna (SUI, Fischer ***) finished sixth and his compatriot Roman Furger (SUI, Fischer ***) achieved with the first-class eighth place his best World Cup result. Andrey Melnichenko (RUS, Fischer ***) finished tenth.
* = Fischer skis
** = Fischer skis and bindings
*** = Fischer skis, bindings and boots