Justyna Kowalczyk tucks down the hill to take the win in a 3k classic individual start race in stage five of the Tour de Ski in Toblach, Italy. (Getty Images/AFP)
TOBLACH, Italy (Jan. 4) - In a grueling stage five short distance classic race, Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk extended her Tour de Ski lead to more than a minute over Sweden's Charlotte Kalla and Norway's Therese Johaug with a huge 15 second margin over the short 3k course. American Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) moved up one spot to seventh and remained in close striking distance to fourth as the Tour heads into its final two days in Val di Fiemme.
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) finished seventh in Friday's stage five 3k classic individual start to move up a spot in the Tour de Ski standings in seventh, 33 seconds off the podium.
Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk scored a huge 15 second win to boost her tour lead to over a minute over Sweden's Charlotte Kalla and Norway's Therese Johaug.
Russian Alexey Poltoranin took the men's win over Tour leader Petter Northug of Norway.
Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) was 44th, Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) 60th and Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) 61st.
Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) was 32nd to remain 27th, Holly Brooks (Anchorage) was 38th and stands 34th while Liz Stephen was 45th and dropped one position to 45th.
The Tour now heads into the heart of the Dolomites to Val di Fiemme for the two final stages including a mass start classic race Saturday and fabled hill climb up Alpe Cermis Sunday.
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QUOTES Kikkan Randall I'm pretty happy with today's result. Classic races can go either way for me. I was happy to feel strong and have good skis today and keep my position in the overall. Conditions were relatively good, the track was mostly consistent around the course. The air was quite warm but the snow stayed colder. I skied a steady pace around the whole lap. Didn't really have time to get splits out there so just had to race the clock.
My body felt good, better than yesterday. I am hoping to feel as strong tomorrow and challenge for some bonus seconds!
2012-13 TOUR DE SKI SCHEDULE LIVE – UniversalSports.com TV – Universal Sports TV All times EST Universal Sports available nationally on DirecTV and Dish Network, along with select cable networks.
Saturday, Jan. 5 – Val di Fiemme, Italy Women: 10k classic, mass start LIVE: 6:30 am Men: 15k classic, mass start LIVE: 7:30 am TV: 7:00 pm Universal Sports
Sunday, Jan. 6 – Val di Fiemme, Italy Women: 9k freestyle hill climb, pursuit start (seeded by tour standings) LIVE: 5:45 am Men: 9k freestyle hill climb, pursuit start (seeded by tour standings) LIVE: 8:50 am TV: 7:00 pm Universal Sports