Alexander Bolshunov is the new Tour De Ski leader, after the Russian left the field in his wake to claim top spot in the 15km World Cup event in Val Mustaire.

With a number of fallers during the event in Switzerland, Bolshunov kept his cool to take the victory by 23.5s ahead of home favourite Dario Cologna, while fellow Russian Ivan Yakimushkin rounded off the podium in third.

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Bolshunov takes over the yellow jersey from Federico Pellegrino - after the Italian led the way following Friday’s sprint event - with nobody coming close to the 24-year-old in the Swiss snow.

After an even start to the race, the Russian started to dictate the pace at the start of the second of four laps, as he led a breakaway group which included Cologna and Yakimushkin.

And after a second spurt later in the race, Bolshunov eventually broke free from the pack, and went from strength to strength in the closing stages to finish in a time of 34:09.8.

It looked as if it was going to be an all-Russian podium as the race came to a close, but a coming together between Alexey Chervotkin and Evgeniy Belov on the last descent sent them tumbling, leaving Cologna to capitalise and secure second-spot.

The victory in Val Mustaire leaves Bolshunov with a commanding one minute lead after just two events of the 2021 Tour De Ski, with compatriot Artem Maltsev his nearest competitor heading into Sunday’s 15km pursuit.

Swedish star Oskar Svensson sits third overall a further ten seconds behind, while four-time Olympic champion Cologna sits in fourth with six events remaining.

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