Nilsson and Ustiugov enjoy victories as 11th Tour de Ski gets underway

Nilsson and Ustiugov enjoy victories as 11th Tour de Ski gets underway
By Sportsbeat

31/12/2016 at 16:39Updated 31/12/2016 at 16:43

World Cup cross country leader Heidi Weng had to settle for third place in the opening Tour de Ski stage in Val Mustair as Sweden's Stina Nilsson once again showed her sprint pedigree.

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Norwegian Weng had not finished off the podium in the previous eight races she had contested this season.

And while she was once again inside the top three, the battle for top honours was between Nilsson and fellow sprint specialist Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway.

In the end it was the former who emerged victorious in the final, 2.48 minutes quicker than Falla who was unable to make it two consecutive sprint freestyle victories in the Tour de Ski.

Weng sits on 697 points for the season with her cause helped by nearest rival Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg only managing a seventh-place finish on Saturday.

In the men's competition, victory went the way of Russia's Sergey Ustiugov after he egdged out Italy's Federico Pellegrino by 2.03 minutes.

Norway's Finn Haagen Krogh completed the podium in third, 2.80 minutes behind the leader.

Ustiugov holds the early advantage in the Tour de Ski standings although Martin Johnsrud Sundby leads the World Cup standings from Krogh after his fourth-place finish took him to 590 points.