In the 10 k classic mass start in Val di Fiemme, Italy, today, Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland used her cardiovascular capacity, strong classic skiing, and perhaps the best wax job in the field to extend her lead in the Tour de Ski standings. At 5k coming through the stadium, Norwegians Therese Johaug and Kristin Størmer Steira were still on her heels. But as the second round of climbing began, Kowalczyk pulled away, working at the pace only she is capable of, and finished with a lead of 33 seconds. She was aided by slippery skis on Johaug, who was bested in the finishing stretch by Krista Lahteenmaki of Finland and locked out of the bonus points; Steira held on for second place six seconds ahead of the Finn.
Kowalczyk now has two minutes on the rest of the field going into tomorrow’s final climb.
Kikkan Randall led the U.S. team with an 11th place finish, 1:05 after Kowalczyk. Jessie Diggins was 25th (+1:55), Liz Stephen 29th (+2:11), and Holly Brooks 47th (+3:18).