The three-way battle for the overall World Cup title between Petter Northug (NOR), Alexander Legkov (RUS) and Dario Cologna (SUI) got most interesting in Falun, Sweden, on Friday in the second stage of World Cup Finals. Northug really wants it, apparently, as he managed to find the energy to come back from a 4.8 second deficit at the top of the course to win the 2.5 k freestyle prologue, pick up valuable bonus seconds for the mini-tour standings, and snatch 50 World Cup points towards his hunt for the crystal globe.
Norway had a dominant day all-around with a full sweep of the podium and putting six skiers in the top seven; Paal Golberg took second on the day (+2.1) and Anders Gloeersen claimed third (+2.9).
Northug is now 56 points ahead of Legkov in the overall World Cup standings and Cologna sits 13 more points behind that in third. While Northug rose to the occasion to put himself further ahead, Legkov and Cologna struggled. Legkov finished ninth, 8.8 seconds behind Northug, and Cologna was 11th, 9.8 seconds back.
Andy Newell led the U.S. in 16th (+11.1) followed by Torin Koos in 25th (+14.1). Noah Hoffman finished 51st, 25.2 seconds back.
Lenny Valjas posted the top Canadian time in 27th (+14.2), Alex Harvey was 30th (+14.8), Devon Kershaw finished 32nd (+15.3), Michael Somppi was 44th (+19.4) and Ivan Babikov was 52 (+30.2).