Teodor Peterson of Sweden and Mona-Lisa Malvalehto of Finland won cross-country skiing World Cup sprints on Saturday in Liberec, Czech Republic.
Peterson won the men's 1.6-kilometre classical style race in 3 minutes, 30.4 seconds, beating a fellow Swede Emil Joensson in a photo finish. Paal Golberg of Norway finished third, 0.6 second behind.
After World Cup leaders skipped the race, Alexander Legkov of Russia remains the overall leader with 799 points ahead of Petter Northug of Norway in second with 759 and Dario Cologna of Switzerland on 751.
Malvalehto claimed the women's 850-meter classical style sprint for her first career victory, beating World Cup leader Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland by 1.7 seconds.
Canada's Daria Gaiazova skied a hair short of her first individual World Cup podium after finishing fourth in a photo finish.
Building on the momentum gained from winning a bronze and silver medal at OPA Continental Cup races in Germany last weekend, the 29-year-old Olympian from Banff, Alta., was on a mission for the World Cup podium in Liberec — site of the 2013 Under-23 and Junior World Championships.
"I’m supper happy with fourth and my best ever World Cup finish," Gaiazova said in a statement. "I really believe a podium will come this year. I believe in that and I am committed to [achieving that goal]."
"It was a great way to kick off 2013 and I’m super pumped," said Gaiazova. "The wax techs did a great job on my skis today and the staff really helped me get ready for this race."
Perianne Jones of Almonte, Ont. put down another personal best World Cup finish. The 27-year-old’s day came to an end in the semifinals where she crossed the line fifth, and finished a career-best ninth.
"I’m super happy with how things went today," said Jones, who also claimed a bronze medal in a team sprint last year. "I love classic sprinting and I’m feeling really strong. It went really well today."
Chandra Crawford, of Canmore, Alta., also qualified for the heats, but was knocked out in the opening round and finished 29th.
Kowalczyk leads overall with 1,302 points, ahead of Therese Johaug of Norway with 852.
Toronto’s Len Valjas sprinted into 10th spot in the men’s race.
The World Cup continues with team sprint events in Liberec on Sunday.