April 09, 2017 (Russia) – Only 12 points separated the red bib holder of the FIS Worldloppet Cup 2017, Candide Pralong and second-placed Ivan Perrillat-Boiteux before the final stage at the Ugra Ski Marathon in Russia on Sunday. In the women’s ranking last year’s winner Aurelie Dabudyk only had to collect three points to secure her second consecutive overall victory.
“I was on Ustiugov’s back when he increased the speed and tried to follow, but then I realized that there are some more kilometers to go, so I had to reduce the speed again for being strong enough in the finishing lane,” explained Northug.
“Of course, the gold medals from Lahti weigh a lot, but to win here today is also a great feeling, also since it is my birthday. But during the race I was not so sure if I can be in front in the end. It was so hard, windy, slow. But aproximately 8 km before the finish I felt, that I can attack and I increased the speed and it worked out,” said Ustiugov who also celebrated his birthday.
In the women’s competition, Dabudyk (FRA), who dominated all season, once again had problems with the final stage in Russia.
With a lead of 98 points in the overall ranking her focus was simply to finish the race and she did. Once again Dabudyk, the French member of the Nordic Team Haute Savoie, is the winner of the FIS Worldloppet Cup.
The winner of the Ugra Ski Marathon was Olga Rotcheva (RUS) with a 53-second margin over Maria Gräfnings from Sweden (SAS & tg hütten). Third place went to Russia’s Mariya Guschina who was on the podium in the same spot last year.
“It is a great feeling winning here in Russia after my second place last year. The race was hard, the conditions also, so I am happy to win. There was no need for an attack, I just skied my pace the whole race and it seems like it was the fastest one,” Rotcheva concluded.