VAL DI FIEMME, Italy – A pair of men who had a pair of the worst days in Saturday’s Stage 8 of the Tour de Ski here had the two best days in Sunday’s Stage 9 – the Tour’s final climb up the Alpe Cermis.
Alexander Legkov (RUS) and Maurice Manificat (FRA) finished first and second in the contest for best time in the final climb, in nearly a dead heat. Legkov finished in 30:38.2 and Manificat in 30:38.3, with Marcus Hellner in third place another second back, in 30:39.9. (The reason the three men weren’t the first to the finish line is because Stage 9 was a handicap-start, with athletes placed higher in the overall standings getting a head start.)
While Hellner started in third place and used his result to climb to second in the overall Tour standings, Legkov and Manificat weren’t situated as well at the start of the day, thanks to nightmare races in Stage 8 here on Saturday.
Legkov had problems with his skis and wax, while Manificat struggled with his body.
After the race on Sunday, Manificat told FasterSkier he had “better legs, and good skis.”
“Yesterday, it was a day without, as we say in French. But it’s like that—the Tour is very long, and you need to be at 100 percent,” he said. “All works today, and so, I finish on good things, and it’s good to continue the season.”