Hellner, Kowalczyk win prologues
Marcus Hellner of Sweden and Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland won the opening prologues as the Tour de Ski kicked off in Oberhof, Germany.
The fifth annual cross-country event features eight races in 10 days and has quickly become one of the highlights of the winter sports calendar.
Hellner won the opening men's 3.75km freestyle race in a time of 7:34.5 ahead of Alexey Petukhov of Russia and Petter Northug of Norway. It was his second World Cup win of the season.
The women's race was over 2.5km and last year's Tour de Ski winner Kowalczyk's time of 6:39.0 saw her edge ahead of Charlotte Kalla of Sweden and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen of Norway.
The race continues at the same venue on New Year's Day with two classical races – the men will compete over 15km while the women tackle a 10km course.