Alexander Bolshunov won his third stage in a row to maintain control of the 2021 Tour de Ski and the overall cross-country World Cup season with a scintillating performance in the 15km interval start race in Toblach, Italy.

The 15th edition of the Tour de Ski passed the halfway mark following the fourth stage – contested in the free technique – which was once again dominated by Bolshunov.

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The Russian took the lead by the 5km checkpoint and never looked back – eventually crossing the line in a time of 32:57.9.

That was enough to beat compatriot Denis Spitsov by 8.3seconds, while Ivan Yakimushkin completed an all-Russian podium by taking bronze, 13.9s behind the winner

In fact, each of the top five places belonged to Russian skiers, with France's Maurice Manificat finally breaking the hegemony in sixth, but Bolshunov was the undoubted star as he extended his overall lead from 53s at the start of the day to 1min15s.

Artem Maltsev finished fifth on the stage but maintained second spot in the overall Tour de Ski standings with four stages to go, while Spitsov climbs to third.

Great Britain's Andrew Musgrave was 17th on the day in Toblach and climbed into the Tour de Ski top 15 overall, with the next stage being a 15km pursuit, in the classic technique, on Wednesday.

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