The Xiwuqi Ski Sprint, fifth stage in China Tour de Ski this year, had a rather predictable outcome this morning with Norway’s Haakon Hjelstuen and China’s Li Xin winning the final. Hjelstuen is almost sure of winning this year’s China Tour de Ski.
Today Hjelstuen showed again he is the fastest sprinter with a win over his compatriots Didrik Fjeld Elset, Martin Hammer and Frenchman Baptiste Noel. He continues to lead the overall ranking of China Tour de Ski, and a lot will have to go wrong in Beijing for him still to lose this year’s title. In fact, with over 100 points advantage over Samuel Rege Gianasso, the Norwegian cannot be caught anymore on points. He just needs to finish the Beijing stage. Erland Nydal is in third place.
In the women’s, Chinese skiers again had the better of the Europeans. Li Xin, who also won Changbai Shan and the Xiwuqi Distance race earlier this week, took her third stage victory by edging out Man Dandan, Julia Jansson and Chi Chunxue. The overall China Tour de Ski title is still undecided, with Li Xin taking over the lead from Vasaloppet China winner Meng Hongliang. The gap is 31 points, so anything can happen, but Li Xin sprint record has been outstanding this week and she definitely enters the final stage as the top favourite. Julia Jansson is third and only 40 points back, so the Swedish skier can still cause an upset if the two Chinese focus too much on each other!
The final stage takes place near Beijing.