Alexander Bolshunov stretched his Cross-Country World Cup lead after returning to winning ways in the men's 15km in Falun, Sweden.
The Russian crossed in 32:33.3, just under two seconds ahead of Simon Hegstad Krueger after a hard-fought battle with the Norwegian.
Krueger's fellow countryman Sjur Roethe was almost 24 seconds further back in third as he held off the challenge of another Norwegian, Hans Christer Holund, to claim the final podium spot.
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Bolshunov's victory comes just a week after he was embroiled in controversy at the previous World Cup meet in Lahti.
The 24-year-old appeared to strike Joni Maki with his sticks towards the end of the men's relay before crashing into him once the race was finished.
The Russian team were disqualified from the relay as a result but Bolshunov â€“ who had finished fifth in the 30km earlier in the meet â€“ issued an apology for his 'unsportsmanlike behaviour' and avoided a ban.
He was in bullish mood after recapturing the top step on the podium and said: "That's the best possible answer.
"I get stronger when I am criticized. Keep doing it and I'll be even better. This is the third time I have won here, so I really like this track."
Bolshunov's victory took his points tally to 1,491, more than double that of his nearest challenger Ivan Yakimushkin, and he will look to assert his authority once more in Saturday's 15km Mass Start.
Stupak and Bolshunov lead the way in Engadin
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