Adam Johansson is set to win his second China Tour de Ski tomorrow as he won today’s dramatic distance race in Nalati and disaster struck for Kusti Kittilae. Plagued by fever since yesterday’s rest day, Kittilae did all he could to defend his overall lead but ultimately sunk to his knees and requires a miracle in the ski sprint tomorrow to outpoint Johansson.
After a superb women’s race (see seperate article), the men certainly kept the suspense up in their 5km or two-lap race on the beautiful new Nalati ski course. Kusti Kittilae had to try and extend his points lead over Adam Johansson in the distance race as the latter has appeared to be too fast in the ski sprints on this year’s Tour. Sadly, the Fin not only had to fight Johansson, but illness and fever as well. At this level that’s merciless. Kittilae tried hard to keep up with the leading group, but gradually lost terrain and finished in 20th place, which says it all. As he was lying flat on his back in the snow after the finish, it was obvious how deep he had gone. Hopefully, the double stage winner can start in the ski sprint tomorrow and at least safeguard his second place in the overall.
The battle for the stage victory today was mainly between Johansson and the young Oscar Kardin, who’s back to his best form after sitting out the Xiwuqi stages due to knee ache. The difference between Johansson and Kardin was small. Behind him Bill Impola confirmed he is among the best distance skiers in the Tour with another third place.
Full results are now on the Nalati results page
Stage 5 – Nalati 5km distance – Men
1. Adam Johansson (SWE)
2. Oscar Kardin (SWE)
3. Bill Impola (SWE)
4. Victor Gustafsson (SWE)
5. Kjartan Helland (NOR)
6. Jonatan Thoresson (SWE)
Start of the Nalati distance race for men
The leading group as they turn into lap 2
Descending fast towards the final U-turn, Adam Johansson is already in the lead.
Final 80 metres for Adam Johansson to take his 3rd stage victory in this year’s China Tour de Ski
Adam Johansson can win his 2nd overall China Tour de Ski title after 2010 tomorrow
Ill-stricken Kusti Kittilae fought like a lion
The local (mainly) Kazakh community in Nalati came to watch the races in large numbers
Entrance to the local market, set up for the occasion