DOBBIACO, Italy (AP) — Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland won her third stage in the Tour de Ski on Friday and extended her overall lead as she closes in on a fourth consecutive title.
Kowalczyk won the 3-kilometer classical race in 10 minutes, 8.1 seconds. Krista Lahteenmaki of Finland finished second, 16.5 seconds behind, and Astrid Jacobsen of Norway was third, 17.1 behind. Kowalczyk increased her overall lead from 23.3 seconds to 1:00.03 ahead of Charlotte Kalla of Sweden, who finished ninth in the stage.
"I feel really good in classic," Kowalczyk said. "My form was perfect today." In the 5K men's event, Alexey Poltoranin of Kazakhstan won in 12:37.9, 8.0 ahead of overall leader Petter Northug Jr. of Norway, and 8.2 ahead of two-time defending champion Dario Cologna of Switzerland.
Northug, who collapsed to the snow in exhaustion after crossing the finish line, boosted his lead over Cologna to 16.1 seconds. Northug finished second overall three of the past four years and is seeking to become the first Norwegian to win the weeklong event.
The race moves to Val di Fiemme for the sixth stage on Saturday, a 15-kilometer classical mass start race for men and a 10-kilometer event for women. The race ends Sunday with the traditional climb up Mount Cermis in Val di Fiemme, which will also host this season's world championships from Feb. 20-March 3.