The men's field is packed up in the 15k pursuit in leg two of the Tour de Ski. (Getty Images/AFP-Robert Michael)
OBERHOF, Germany (Dec. 30) - Action in the Tour de Ski heated up on day two, with Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk taking her second straight win and American Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) moving into sixth in the 11-day, nine-stage Tour. German Axel Teichmann took the win over prologue leader Petter Northug of Norway and is in the Tour lead. The Tour now travels south to Oberstdorf, Germany for a classic sprint Saturday for stage three.
The second stage of the Tour de Ski was a pursuit, with athletes seeded based on their times in the prologue on Thursday.
Kikkan Randall skied the 11th fastest 10k classic time to finish sixth in the pursuit, 58.6 seconds back, and is now sixth in the Tour, 1:13.6 behind Kowalcyk.
Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) had a brilliant day, skiing the 20th fastest 15k classic time and moving up from 64th to 30th in the Tour.
Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) is 66th with Andy Newell (Andover, NH) in 74th.
Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, VT) moved up from 37th to 29th; Holly Brooks (Anchorage) is 56th
The entire Tour packed up after the race and headed south for Oberstdorf for a classic sprint on Saturday with Randall and Newell expected to content.
QUOTES Kikkan Randall I knew I would be starting with a strong group of skiers that usually finish in the top ten so I wanted to try and hang with them as long as possible. At this point I'm more focused on testing my limits than skiing too conservatively early in the race.
The pace was pretty frantic from the start, as usual. With big differences in skis, it felt like there were a lot of skiers going back and forth. It finally started to settle out going into the second lap and I could still see the lead pack not too far in front. My skis were working well in some places and not in others so I just tried to stay in that group. I still felt pretty strong on the last lap and tried to move up. We weren't really working together but we weren't fighting each other either. I made a move with 400 meters to go and just focused on staying ahead of my group to the finish. I had no idea we were fighting for sixth.
Ski selection was really tricky today. I was testing both zeros and hardwax and with ten minutes until start. I still couldn't decide what to do. It seemed like the conditions were changing every few minutes. The snow picked up again so Peter and I decided on the zeros with eight minutes to go. I didn't have perfect skis out there but they were decent enough and relatively consistent through the race enough to allow me to use my fitness.