Norway's Olympic champion Petter Northug wins 4th stage, takes Tour de Ski overall lead - InfoNews

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Norway's Olympic champion Petter Northug wins 4th stage, takes Tour de Ski overall lead

Norway's Petter Northug celebrates on the podium after winning the men's 35k event at the cross country Tour de Ski competition, in Dobbiaco, Italy, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Armando Trovati)
January 03, 2013 - 6:40 AM

DOBBIACO, Italy - Olympic champion Petter Northug Jr. of Norway took the overall lead in the Tour de Ski after winning Thursday's 35-kilometre free pursuit cross-country race.

In a four-man lead group, Northug surged ahead on the final uphill section of the fourth stage from Cortina to Dobbiaco, near the Austrian border, and won in 1 hour, 16 minutes, 32.7 seconds.

Alexander Legkov of Russia finished second, 0.7 seconds behind, and two-time defending champion Dario Cologna of Switzerland was third, 0.9 behind.

Previous leader Maxim Vylegzhanin of Russia was fourth, 1.6 behind.

Alex Harvey of St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., was sixth and Devon Kershaw of Sudbury, Ont., was 12th. Ivan Babikov of Canmore, Alta., was 21st and Toronto's Len Valjas was 23rd.

Northug finished second overall three of the past four years and is seeking to become the first Norwegian to win the weeklong event.

He holds a 5.7-second lead ahead of Legkov. Cologna is 10.9 seconds behind in third, while Vylegzhanin dropped to fourth, 16.6 seconds behind.

A women's 15-kilometre event was scheduled for later.

Stage five on Friday features a 5-kilometre classical race for men and a 3-kilometre event for women.

The race ends Sunday with the traditional climb up Mount Cermis in Val di Fiemme.

News from © The Associated Press, 2013
The Associated Press

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