Double win for Russia at cross-country World Cup‏

Russian skiers sealed a double win at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup in Asahikawa, Japan, on Wednesday (18 February), bringing their day's podium total to five in cross-country sprint freestyle races.

Vladislav Lekomtcev headed the field in the men's standing, securing his third win of the competition and pushing himself further out of reach in the overall World Cup rankings.

France's Benjamin Daviet was second, splitting Lekomtcev and his teammate Ivan Kodlozerov in third.

The second win for Russia came in the women's equivalent courtesy of Ekaterina Rumyantseva who once again led Japan's Yurika Abe and Canadian Brittany Hudak.

There was also double joy for the USA, as Oksana Masters took her third win and Andrew Soule his fourth in the women's and men's sitting respectively. The win continues Soule's unbeaten record for the competition.

Masters finished in front of Norwegian sprint Paralympic champion Mariann Marthinsen, whilst Akzhana Abdikarimova collected another podium for Russia in third.

Soule meanwhile continued his tussle with Alexey Bychenok over 1km, edging the Russian out to take victory. Norwegian Steinar Trygve Larsen completed the top three.

There was a continuation of a strong French showing at the World Cup level following the team's convincing World Championships performance, as Anthony Challencon and guide Lucas Dupperex were victorious in the men's visually impaired.

Norwegian Eirik Bye, guided by KM Hellrud, retained their form with a second place finish.

South Korea's Bogue Choi and guide Jeongryun Seo collected third, emerging just in time for the beginning of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games cycle.

Races conclude in Asahikawa on Thursday (19 February) with middle distance freestyle, before the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Finals take place in Surnadal, Norway, from 16-22 March.