The first stage of the 3rd Tour de Ski China was held today in sunny weather and about 15 minus degrees at Xiwuqi, Inner Mongolia. One Norwegian – Kjetil Hagvedt Dammen – managed to beat three Swedish skiers to the first podium place in the men’s mass start which was set to 5.7km. Last years Tour winner Anders Hoegberg came 2nd followed by Adam Johansson and Bjoern Gund. Best Chinese was Tang Jinle with a 5th place.
This is my first time in China and I am very excited to be here says Kjetil Dammen who had many new impressions when starting in today’s race.
“-It was kind of special to compete today since we have been travelling for 2 days and had to adjust to a 7 hour time difference”
Kjetil says he took it easy the first lap and managed to get to the top group with Anders Hogberg and Peter Larsson. He then pulled through to beat both of them in the sprint against the finish. –“It was fun to win since Hogberg and Larsson are good sprinters, but I managed beat them today”
Last years Tour winner Anders Hoegberg said he felt content with a 2nd place because he is not in as good shape as last year and the Xiwuqi track was quite tough.
In the women’s mass start of 3.7km, Swedish Hanna Seppas won almost 2 seconds before Inger Nilsen Norway followed by Chinese skiers Wang Libo and Guo Liping
Hanna Seppas who has previously been a ski high school student in Sweden couldn’t say no at last to come to China for this special ski tour. –“The spectators and media really appreciate us coming here to compete” she said after her win. After having been a bit behind in the race, Hanna got a chance to break out after which she held the lead.
Hanna is looking forward to tomorrows competitions, -“It feels like there are many Swedish women skiers on the same level in this tour that can be on top and that tomorrows results will be decisive in the final overall standings”
Stage 1, Xiwuqi,Distance Free Style
Results Men 5.7km
1. Kjetil Hagtvedt Dammen NOR 13:42.80
2. Anders Hoegberg SWE 13:43:40
3. Adam Johansson SWE 13.43:50
4. Bjoern Gund SWE 13:43:60
Results Women 3.8km
1. Hanna Seppas SWE 10:35:00
2. Inger Liv Bjerkreim Nilsen NOR 10:36.36
3. Wang Libo CHN 10:36.50
4. Guo Liping CHN 10:40:21