Germany’s Tim Tscharnke narrowly won the dramatic sixth stage of the 2015 Tour de Ski, a 15 k classic mass start in Val di Fiemme, Italy, on Saturday.
Tscharnke, who began the race 30th in the Tour standings, outlunged Alexey Poltoranin of Kazakhstan (+0.0) to finish in 46:48.8. Dario Cologna of Switzerland was in the final sprint and took third (+0.4) despite crashing 29 minutes into the race, while Stanislav Volzhentsev beat fellow Russian Alexander Bessmertnykh in a photo finish to take fourth (+0.7),
Tour leader Petter Northug of Norway took 21st (+17.2). This was just barely good enough to hold the overall Tour lead over teammate Martin Johnsrud Sundby, who finished in eighth (+4.1) after falling alongside Niklas Dyrhaug five minutes into the race.
Northug is just 3.1 seconds ahead of Sundby in the overall standings going into Sunday’s final stage in Val di Fiemme, a 9 k freestyle pursuit. Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson, who was 27th on Saturday (+30.0), is 26.8 seconds behind Northug in third.
Russia’s Evgeniy Belov fell along with Cologna — their skis became tied up as they descended a hill — and is now fourth in the standings (+35.3) after crossing the line in 17th (+14.1).
Canada’s Alex Harvey took 34th (+2:12.5) and will not race on Sunday. He dropped from sixth to 16th in the overall standings. Meanwhile, teammates Ivan Babikov and Devon Kershaw finished 40th (3:28.6) and 41st (3:39.5), respectively.