Pantrina's Jerk

Skiathlons at the Russian Cross-Country Skiing Championships turned out to be the most interesting for the spectators who filled all the stands of the stadium in Tyumen. This time, unlike the day of the sprint, the weather was good: the sun was shining, and during the night it was a little frosty. The track for the athletes was prepared not easy. Before the race, the girls who traditionally started the competition were afraid to fall on one of the slopes. Alas, that's exactly what happened. On the snow was one of the favorites of the race Maria Istomina.

The ward of Yuri Borodavko at the "Championship Heights" in this type of program only at the finish lost to Natalia Nepryaeva, so the experts expected no less stubborn rivalry at the main start of the season. However, this episode in the middle of the skiathlon did not allow the skier to compete for medals. Although there were still enough kilometers left until the end of the race, Istomin could not catch up with the leaders, eventually being fifth.

An even more unpleasant incident occurred with Anastasia Prokofieva. She drove off the track in the same section and slid down the hill. The girl then took a long time to return to the track.

In Istomina's absence, Anastasia Kuleshova tried to impose a struggle on Nepryaeva. The day before, she did not take part in the sprint, so she was fresher than Natalia and forced the Olympic champion to work at the distance at the maximum.

"You can see from Nastya that she was preparing for this race and setting the pace. In some areas, it was hard to hold on to her. We spent the beginning calmly, but the horse was more difficult for me, "said the owner of the "Big Crystal Globe".

The girls traditionally passed the classics in a large group, and skis at the stadium were changed simultaneously by 13 people. However, by the cut-off of 10.6 kilometers, Natalia and Anastasia made a small clearance of 5 seconds and began to leave the rest of the athletes. Moreover, Nepryaeva spent most of her time behind her rival.

"There are not easy circles here, so "slipping on a fool" does not work. The girls set a very good pace, especially Kuleshova, who did the whole race, "the Olympic champion admitted.

The group of pursuers quickly disintegrated. Elizaveta Pantrina and Ekaterina Smirnova ran after the leaders. Representatives of the Tyumen region created a comfortable reserve for themselves and it seemed that they would fight with each other for bronze, and Kuleshova and Nepryaeva would determine the winner of the gold award. But things turned out differently.

The 21-year-old Pantrina managed to prove herself, who has already taken bronze at the tournament. And most of all she was remembered by the fans for her performance at the "Championship Heights", where, together with Smirnova, she defeated Nepryaeva herself in the team sprint.

The girl was surprised this time. A kilometer before the finish, she made a breakthrough and left Catherine. Nepryaeva did the same, breaking away from Kuleshova. At the same time, Anastasia's advantage from third place was a comfortable seven seconds. But the representative of the Nizhny Novgorod region was very tired during the race and on the bridge in front of the stadium allowed Pantrina to catch up, and at the finish Elizaveta was already in control of the situation.

"On the last climb, I saw that there is some reserve, because my legs are completely acidified. On the descent, I was already riding on wooden legs, I could not bend them and move correctly so that there was a maximum speed. Lisa is a very good finisher. It's hard for me, but I didn't expect it to be right next to my skis. Of course, I was upset, but I want to say that Lisa is great, she had a very good race.

When my feet soured, I was thinking only about silver. And I was fully confident that I would be the second one today. But, until you cross the finish line, you cannot be one hundred percent sure of anything," Kuleshova said.

As it turned out, Pantrina was not originally going to start in the skiathlon and expected to get into the top ten.

"We are preparing more for skating, but I said that I would like to run, try myself. I haven't participated in a skiathlon for a very long time, for three years. And today it was a good experience for me, I am satisfied. On the last climb I realized: I can catch up with Kuleshova. I saw that she was already "swimming", and I still had the strength, I turned on, accelerated to the last climb, pushed down, rolled and already at the finish line I overtook her, "said Pantrina.

The most offensive thing on this day was Smirnova, who finished fourth. Ekaterina could not contain her emotions and went to the award ceremony with tears in her eyes.

Bolshunov's 15th Gold

The men's skiathlon turned out to be really dramatic. Incredible emotions were again presented to the audience by Sergey Ustyugov and Alexander Bolshunov. On the eve of the classic sprint, the representative of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug was stronger, and the skiers equaled the number of gold medals at the Russian Championships: there were 14 of them. At a distance of 30 kilometers, the duel was won by a three-time Olympic champion, and became a 15-time winner of the tournament.

The leaders of the Russian team in the middle of the distance began to move away from the main group. Evgeny Belov tried to hold on to the skiers, but at the mark of 16.3 kilometers his lag was already 5 seconds, and the rest - even more.

The intrigue died a few kilometers before the finish: Ustyugov fell at the turn. Moreover, Sergey quickly got up and tried to catch up with Bolshunov, who actively began to work on the rise. But due to fatigue, the athlete at some points threw resistance.

"Did I feel like I could catch up? It's not like it used to be. There is a limiter. I turned on, reached the red zone, dropped the revs. I understand this very well. That cut-off still stands, it hasn't gone anywhere. There is no such thing that dal-dal, the flash went, endured to the descent. Still, I had to slow down somewhere, to stop myself. I want this cut-off to go somewhere, especially here, at the championship, "Ustyugov admitted.

Sergey explained his fall primarily by fatigue. This time, no one prevented him from overcoming a dangerous section of the route.

"My legs didn't hold. On the turn I slipped and found myself in the snow. I lift my head and Sanya has already run. I wanted to do a good broach in the same place, but Bolshunov, without looking back, went. He probably didn't even notice that I had fallen. Well, it's okay, it's a race, and the strongest wins," said Sergey.

Bolshunov, indeed, did not even notice the fall of his partner in the national team, so he looked surprised during the interview.

"Did Sergey fall? Where did he fall? I didn't know. A mile and a half to the finish line? No, I haven't really seen it. I started to turn on at that point and didn't even know he had stumbled. It was after the descent that I decided to turn on, because I looked - there is a small clearance, three or four meters. I understood that we need to start speeding up," Alexander said.

Bolshunov also commented on Ustyugov's words about his retirement. According to the three-time Olympic champion, viewers should not take them seriously.

"You can say whatever you want. We know: Sergey will run. He's going to leave every year. You can even ignore it, "the athlete is sure.

Meanwhile, a serious struggle between four skiers unfolded for bronze. It was won by Ivan Yakimushkin, beating Alexey Chervotkin, Denis Spitsov and Anton Timoshov at the finish. At the same time, according to the representative of the Tyumen region, he could claim gold, but spent too much time at the stadium when changing skis.

"When I flew into the box, I just blew off the top of the mat with liquid ointment, and I changed my clothes for a very long time. I think if there was an opportunity to get close to them, you could shift, but this hitch of five or seven seconds really bothered me. But the third place is a very good result," Yakimushkin said.

However, the spectators still saw the struggle of Ivan and Alexander at the finish. Athletes decided to arrange a comic race with wheelchairs: both recently became fathers.