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Kriukov and Kowalczyk win cross-country sprints

December 21, 2013

ASIAGO, Italy (AP) — Olympic champion Nikita Kriukov of Russia claimed his first World Cup victory by edging out Alexey Poltoranin in a classical-style sprint on Saturday, while Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland dominated the women’s event.

Kriukov stuck his ski out to beat Poltoranin by 0.14 seconds. Gianluca Cologna was 4.11 seconds behind for his first podium finish.

Eldar Roenning of Norway finished fourth after his pole broke on the final climb.

With overall leader and triple Olympic champion Marit Bjoergen skipping the race, Kowalczyk led from start to finish for her 29th individual World Cup victory, beating Anne Kylloenen of Finland by 1.34 seconds. Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway was 2.30 seconds behind Kowalczyk.

Kikkan Randall of the United States went out in the quarterfinals and lost her lead in the sprint standings to Kowalczyk.

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