Iivo Niskanen for gold in 15 kilometer classic race
Team Finland’s Iivo Niskanen skied to victory in front of his home crowd. The race was very even between Niskanen and team Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov. At 6,1 kilometer point there was only half a second gap between the two, to Bolshunov’s favor.
However, in the goal there was a +10,1 gap to Niskanen’s favor. This was his first ever world cup victory in Salpausselkä.
— I tried not to start too hard. We have raced here so many times before that it was easy to make a tactic for the competition, Niskanen commented after the race.
According to Niskanen, the weather was faster than usually. This messed up Bolshunov’s tactic a little bit, who left for the race last.
— My main goal was to reach Iivo, but I wasn’t able to do that. Because of this, the last lap was really hard for me, because I skied it alone, Bolshunov noted.
The third was team Norway’s Hans Christer Holund. He was +28,8 seconds behind Niskanen in the goal. The Norwegian was really happy after the race.
— It was a perfect race for me. I see myself more as a skater, I’m not as good in classic. I was a little surprised that I got a podium in a classic race. This is really good thing for my confidence, Holund said.
Men will race again tomorrow in 4 x 7,5 km relay.
Picture: Heidi Lehikoinen