Russia's Alexander Bolshunov strengthened his bid to successfully defend the Tour de Ski title, rounding off the weekend's cross-country skiing in Val Müstair, Switzerland, with victory in the 15km pursuit.

The 24-year-old headed into the third stage of the 2021 competition with a one-minute lead following sprint silver and victory in the 15km mass start on Friday and Saturday respectively, and he never looked in danger of being caught throughout the four-lap race.

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A time of 32:11.1 propelled Bolshunov to his thirdcross-country World Cup victory of the season, ahead of fellow countryman Artem Maltsev in second and France's Maurice Manificat in third.

Bolshunov said: "I wouldn't say it was easy, I had to work really hard on the last laps. But I'm still really happy to take the win with good distance."

Topping both the overall Tour de Ski and World Cup standings, Bolshunov will look to maintain his fine form in Toblach, where both competitions continue on Tuesday.

Also looking for further success in Italy will be women's overall Tour de Ski leader Jessie Diggins, after the 29-year-old sealed the seventh World Cup triumph of her career as part of an American one-two in the 10km pursuit in Val Müstair.

With Sweden's Linn Svahn - winner of both the sprint and 10km mass start events earlier in the weekend - having started with a 19-second advantage, Diggins was part of a group that passed her on the second lap.

A time of 26:54.1 saw Diggins finish 5.6s in front of compatriot Rosie Brennan, while Sweden's Frida Karlsson completed the podium in third. Svahn eventually came home sixth.

Diggins now leads Brennan and Karlsson at the top of the overall Tour de Ski ranks, while Brennan remains top of the overall World Cup charts, 74 points ahead of Russia's Tatiana Sorina.

Sportsbeat 2021

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