Vylegzhanin becomes first Russian to win cross-country race this season

RYBINSK, Russia — Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin and Yulia Tchekaleva won men’s and women’s skiathlon races in the cross-country skiing World Cup on Sunday.

Three-time Olympic silver medalist Vylegzhanin won the 30-kilometer men’s race in 1 hour, 21 minutes, 54.8 seconds in front of his home crowd, becoming the first Russian to win an individual World Cup race this season.

Switzerland’s Dario Cologna, who won the men’s 15K race at the same venue Friday, was 2.7 seconds behind Vylegzhanin in second.

Cologna moved to second in the men’s overall standings behind Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway, who missed the meet.

Matti Heikkinen of Finland held off five chasing Russians to claim third place, finishing 6.2 behind Vylegzhanin.

In the women’s 15K skiathlon, double Olympic bronze medalist Tchekaleva made an early breakaway and held the lead for her first career World Cup victory in 44:16.

Tchekaleva took a comfortable win, 15.6 ahead of Norway’s Martine Ek Hagen. In a photo finish, Riitta-Liisa Roponen of Finland was third, 22.9 behind Tchekaleva but just one-tenth of a second ahead of Germany’s Stefanie Boehler.

On Saturday, Sweden’s Jennie Oeberg and Italy’s Federico Pellegrino won the weekend’s sprints in the central Russian city of Rybinsk.

Besides Cologna’s victory in the men’s 15K, Friday also saw Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen of Norway win the women’s 10K.

Many top skiers opted to miss the weekend’s competition in Rybinsk, the penultimate round of the World Cup before the world championships start next month.