Nordic

Østberg defeats Johaug in pursuit race at Tour de Ski

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR, Fischer ***) took the win against Therese Johaug (NOR, Fischer ***) in the final sprint of the 10 km pursuit in classic style. Heidi Weng (NOR, Fischer ***) finished third. In the men's race Sergey Ustiugov (RUS, Fischer ***) was beaten by Alexander Bolshunov (RUS), Iivo Niskanen (FIN, Fischer ***) finished third.

On the fourth stage of the Tour de Ski in Toblach, the classic skis were unpacked for the first time, a pursuit race based on the results of the previous day was on the program. It was clear from the start that it was therefore not possible to declare Therese Johaug as the winner after half of the race, but that it would be a close race. Almost simultaneously, both Norwegians started today's race and stayed together until the end. The decision should be made on the last mountain - at least in Johaug's opinion. After increasing the pace, a small gap opened up on the top, which Østberg was able to close again on the descent to the stadium. As expected, she outsprinted her friend on the home stretch thanks to better sprinting skills and celebrated her 17th World Cup victory.

In the first half of lap one, it initially looked as if the chasing duo Andersson/Weng, which started eleven seconds later, could approach Johaug/Østberg, but Ebba Andersson (SWE, Fischer ***) soon ceased her efforts and both of them settled rather backwards to Nepryaeva/Jacobsen. After four kilometers the group of four had gathered under speed work from Natalia Nepryaeva (RUS, Fischer ***), who started 26 seconds back and they should stay together until the end. Nepryaeva attacked on the last climb, as with Johaug, a small gap opened here, which was closed again on the descent. Andersson, who had put a lot of strength into her lead work, was overtaken on the home stretch by everyone. It got really tight in the fight for third place between Heidi Weng, who always had problems during the race to keep up the others, and Natalia Nepryaeva: The Norwegian won by a hair's breadth. Sprint winner Anamarija Lampic (SLO, Fischer ***) kept up surprisingly well and occasionally showed up in the front in the second group. Nevertheless, the Slovenian still had enough energies for the finish sprint by securing seventh place ahead of Teresa Stadlober (AUT, Fischer ***) and Katharina Hennig (GER, Fischer ***).

=> 10km C Pursuit Toblach (ITA)

=> Netto time for Tour de Ski ranking

=> Tour de Ski after four stages

With 23 seconds ahead of Ivan Yakimushkin (RUS, Fischer ***) and 29 seconds ahead of Bolshunov and Halfvarsson (SWE) and other athletes a few seconds behind, Sergey Ustiugov started the 15-kilometer pursuit race and initially got a black day. After three kilometers, the Russian was overtaken by Bolshunov and Halfvarsson. Inspired by his birthday yesterday, Bolshunov kept up the pace and escaped at the beginning of the third lap after 8.5 kilometers from Ustiugov and Halfvarsson, who had to run their race alone in the future. Sergey Ustiugov recovered so far that he could limit the gap to the teammate to 18 seconds because Bolshunov also had to struggle visibly and tortured himself over the last few kilometers. At the finish line, the two Russians separated 13 seconds, taking first and second place in the Tour de Ski classification, 16 seconds between them.

Third place went to Iivo Niskanen, who managed to break away and caused the group to shrink with his speed. Artem Maltsev (RUS, Fischer ***) secured fourth place in the sprint from the group of four. Hans Christer Holund (NOR, Fischer ***), who started too quickly together with Bolshunov, but then was totally exhausted before reaching the top group, finished seventh. Ivan Yakimushkin dropped back to ninth place ahead of Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR, Fischer ***), who also had to cope with a period of weakness in the meantime, but ultimately reduced the gap to less than a minute due to Bolshunov's problems. He is third in the Tour de Ski ranking, 26 seconds behind.

=> 15km C Pursuit Toblach (ITA)

=> Netto time for Tour de Ski ranking

=> Tour de Ski after four stages

* = Fischer skis

** = Fischer skis and bindings

*** = Fischer skis, bindings and boots