Sundby extends Tour de Ski lead with pursuit win

The Associated Press

DOBBIACO, Italy (AP) -- Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway increased his overall lead in the Tour de Ski with a comfortable win Friday in the fifth of seven stages, showing that he'll be a top medal contender at next month's Sochi Olympics.

Sundby clocked 1 hour, 20 minutes, 18.7 seconds over the grueling 35-kilometer freestyle pursuit from Cortina d'Ampezzo to Dobbiaco - the first half of which was virtually all uphill.

Norwegian teammate Petter Northug won a sprint for second, crossing 58.2 behind, and Alex Harvey of Canada was third, 58.7 behind.

''I tried to keep a steady pace,'' Sundby said. ''Luckily I had a good day and was able to keep the gap.''

In the overall standings, Sundby moved 1:03.2 ahead of Northug, with Harvey 1:08.7 behind.

In the women's 15K free pursuit, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen of Norway maintained her overall lead by winning in 37:30.3.

Two-time runner-up Therese Johaug, also of Norway, finished second, 38.7 behind, and Anne Kyllonen of Finland was third, 1:12.2 behind.

In the overall standings, Jacobsen holds a 43.7-second lead over Johaug, with Kyllonen 1:22.2 behind in third.

The Tour concludes over the weekend in Val di Fiemme, highlighted by the traditional climb up Mount Cermis on Sunday.

''I still hold (Johaug) as the favorite with her climbing ability for the final stages,'' Jacobsen said. ''But my shape is getting better and better and I feel like I'm on track for the Olympic Games, which is the most important thing.''

The Sochi Olympics start Feb. 7.

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