After a difficult ski sprint in Xiwuqi, Kusti Kittilae returned to the top podium step in the 5km distance race in Tianshan Tianchi International Ski Resort this afternoon. In a photo finish the leader in the China Tour de Ski classification beat Jonathan Thoresson by 0.1 seconds with Adam Johansson taking third. Julia Jansson became the fourth winner in as many stages in the women’s competition.
It was a beautiful and sunny day in the Tianshan mountain area near Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Contrary to Changchun and Xiwuqi, the temperature of -8 was already a lot more mild and pleasant, which made the day pure propaganda for cross country skiing. Participants seemed to be quite fond of this new venue in the China Tour de Ski history. In addition to the elite skiers, young athletes from the Altai region in northern Xinjiang also joined the race. Their fighting spirit won warm applause from the audience.
It was an impressive showing from the 20-year-old Julia Jansson around the challenging track in the ski resort. She lead the race nearly from start to finish. Her stage success puts her back in contention in the overall classification, which sees several women still within striking distance of each other. In fact, we have a tie at the top, as Hallqvist and Svensson both total 236 points. China’s Chen Shuang, winner of the first long stage in Changchun, returned to the ski course after sitting out the sprint in Xiwuqi and proved her maiden win was no fluke.
Thanks to his second stage victory Kittilae of course extends his lead over Johansson and Impola to a more comfortable margin (80 and 94 points respectively), but in this tournament one bad moment can cause a lot of havoc. Particularly in the ski sprint, which is on the menu for tomorrow again.
Stage 4 – 5km Distance – Top 10 – Men
1. Kusti Kittilae (FIN)
2. Jonathan Thoresson (SWE)
3. Adam Johansson (SWE)
4. Bill Impola (SWE)
5. Kjartan Helland (SWE)
6. Martin Liljemark (SWE)
7. Shang Jincai (CHN)
8. Oscar Kardin (SWE)
9. Matthias Jonasson (SWE)
10. Maochen Yu (CHN)
Stage 4 – 2.5km Distance – Women
1. Julia Jansson (SWE)
2. Chen Shuang (CHN)
3. Elsa Svensson (SWE)
4. Frida Hallqvist (SWE)
Full results available now on Results page
Podium of the men: Kittilae, Thoresson, Johansson and Impola
Start of the women’s distance race
Jonathan Thoresson leading the first lap of the men’s distance race