January 29th, 2015
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (announced Wednesday that two of its junior skiers have been sanctioned with two-year bans for doping, according to the Associated Press.
In a statement, it named Russia’s reigning national junior 50-kilometer cross-country skiing champion, Nikita Mashkin, 20, who was banned for an unspecified “breach of anti-doping rules” and 19-year-old Arina Kalinina.
Russian sports have been under pressure lately for multiple doping scandals, and last month, cross-country skiing was named as one of several sports in which the Russian Anti-Doping Agency allegedly covered up positive tests for top athletes, according to former agency official Vitaly Stepanov‘s accusations in a German documentary. Those statements led the World Anti-Doping Agency to initiate a major investigation.1 comment
January 5th, 2015
(Note: This post has been updated to include updated information regardubg the China Tour de Ski classic sprint on Monday, Jan. 5.)
Peter Kling and Ryan Scott both made the podium at the China Tour de Ski on Monday, with Kling (a former Alaska Pacific University member) and Scott (an independent racer) placing first and fourth in the 1.2-kilometer classic sprint in XiWuQi, Inner Mongolia.
“The sprint was a 2 lap flat course and it was windy,” Kling explained in an email. “Tactics played a huge role in the race. The technicians did a great job on the skis. … Two Swedish guys are waxing for the entire group. Rolf and Per — they have been here many times and work hard.”
Kling earned 10,000 Chinese Yuan (RMB) for the stage win, slightly more than $1,600 dollars. In fourth, Scott was presented with a check for 2,000 RMB, roughly $320 dollars.
According to Scott, organizers are covering all of his travel, room and food, “on top of a prize purse that would put U.S. National’s to shame,” he wrote in an email last week. “My only expense is $500 Euros to the organizers and paying for bags.”
At U.S. nationals this week in Houghton, Mich., winners walk away with $1,200 dollars for each win (compared to $750 for a SuperTour win). Second place at nationals gets $600, and third receives $300, according to the USSA 2015 competition guide.
On Sunday, following a 17-hour bus ride across China, the two Americans raced the 5.7 k freestyle mass start in XiWuQi. Kling finished second to China’s Sun Quinghai, who won it by 0.7 seconds in 13:24.8. Norway’s Eirik Bruland placed third, 1.3 seconds after Quinghai, and Scott was 30th (+1:17.2). Quinghai also won the 1.6 k sprint at the beginning of the Tour.
“The Inner Mongolia population is extremely welcoming and friendly,” Kling wrote. “Today following the sprint the whole tour went and watched a camel race.”
Tomorrow, the Tour heads to Nalati in the northwestern region of China known as XinJiang, where a 5 k mass start and another sprint will be held as the final stages from Jan. 8-9.
•Opener: Jan. 1 Freestyle sprint, Changchun, Jilin Province
•Stage 1: Jan. 2 Vasaloppet China 50 k classic, Changchun, Jilin Province
•Stage 2: Jan. 4 Mass start 5.7 k and 3.8 k, XiWuQi, Inner Mongolia
•Stage 3: Jan. 5 Sprint, XiWuQi, Inner Mongolia
•Stage 4: Jan. 8 Mass start 5 k, Nalati, XinJiang
•Stage 5: Jan. 9 Sprint, Nalati, XinJiang
For Monday’s sprint results, check back at Tour de Ski China.com1 comment
January 2nd, 2015
The Tour de China opened on Thursday, New Year’s Day, in Deer Valley — Changchun’s Deer Valley, that is — where the Chinese team topped the podium in the elite freestyle sprints.
Qinghai Sun and Dandan Man won the men’s and women’s 1.6 k sprints, respectively. Sun beat out Sweden’s Robin Bryntesson in the four-man men’s final, and former Alaska Pacific University (APU) skier Peter Kling was the fifth man out after being eliminated in the quarterfinals.
He finished fifth overall after China’s Tang Jinle and Sweden’s Petter Reistad, respectively.
Fellow American Ryan Scott placed 13th overall after making the quarterfinals.
After missing the top-16 qualifying cutoff in 19th, Sweden’s Bob Niemi Impola went on to win Friday’s distance race: the 13th annual Vasaloppet China 50 k classic mass start, also in Changchun. Impola edged China’s Shang Jincai by 1.5 seconds in 2:17:06.7, and Jinle notched his second-straight podium in third, 1:36.6 seconds behind Impola.
Bryntesson finished fourth, another 29 seconds back, and Qinghai placed sixth. Kling was 15th (+8:54.9) and Scott 23rd (+15:42) for the U.S. out of 40 men.
In the women’s 50 k race, Li Hongxue led a Chinese sweep of the top eight with a winning time of 2:42:16.3. She held off Chi Chunxue by 4.7 seconds and Ma Qinghua by 30.8 seconds.
The Tour continues Sunday in Inner Mongolia with the third stage — the 15 k mass start — and includes six races total, wrapping up Jan. 9 in XinJiang, China.
In an email, Scott explained that he decided to participate in the Tour de China for the first time when a past Swedish winner put him in touch with the organizer.
“From there it was just a matter of simply coordinating the logistics,” Scott wrote. “They actually cover all of my travel, room, and food — on top of a prize purse that would put U.S. National’s to shame. My only expense is $500 Euros to the organizers and paying for bags.”
- Opener: Jan. 1 Freestyle sprint, Changchun, Jilin Province
- Stage 1: Jan. 2 Vasaloppet China 50 k classic, Changchun, Jilin Province
- Stage 2: Jan. 4 Mass start 15 k, XiWuQi, Inner Mongolia
- Stage 3: Jan. 5 Sprint, XiWuQi, Inner Mongolia
- Stage 4: Jan. 8 Mass start 5 k, Nalati, XinJiang
- Stage 5: Jan. 9 Sprint, Nalati, XinJiang
January 1st, 2015
- If you’re as excited as we are for the 2015 U.S. Cross Country Championships in Houghton, Mich., Michigan Tech skiers have made the perfect video for you. Using a program by Trail Genius, the skiers have mapped out the 5 k course that will be used at the championship by using mapping and video. Check it out here.
Also, be sure to follow FasterSkier’s on-site reporting during nationals, which take place Jan. 2-10.
– According to Dagbladet, the Swedish national team is threatening to boycott the Tour de Ski‘s athlete presentation due to poor lodging conditions for the first stage of the Tour. The Swedish national team was placed in a hotel roughly half-an-hour away from the venue while the majority of other teams are located near the prologue venue in Oberstdorf, Germany. The Norwegian team was originally in the same situation until they “quietly” found better lodging.
“Naturally, we have reacted. This violates the rules,” Swedish coach Rikard Grip said. He added that the team was contemplating boycotting the Tour’s athlete presentation taking place Friday.
– Speaking of the Tour de Ski, check out the FIS Tour guide here.
December 30th, 2014
- A recently published report by Pavlina Sudrich details the first-ever FIS coaching seminar for women, which took place Sept. 7-10, 2014 in Val Di Fiemme, Italy. According to the report, the seminar came on the heels of the 2014 season, where only one percent of accredited World Cup coaching staff was female.
“We [cross-country skiing] need more women as coaches and leaders. We cannot order more female coaches, but we can motivate nations to give them more opportunities,” Vegard Ulvang, the FIS cross-country chairman, said, explaining that the seminar was a first step to include more women in coaching.
The coaching seminar included 18 women from nine different countries, with the majority of the participants having no experience with World Cup coaching.
- The FIS Nordic World Championships in Falun, Sweden are just around the corner and competitors from across the globe are preparing for the biggest skiing competition of the 2015 season. Two skiers from Australia, including Callum Watson who was injured earlier this season, were recently featured in a Falun2015 promotional video. Check out the video below:
– To curb the growing moose-related injuries in Anchorage’s Kicaid Park some community members are suggesting a moose hunt. The park, which serves as one of the nation’s elite cross country ski venues, has long seen moose on its trails but according to Anchorage Dispatch News, several users including hunt-proponent Ira Edwards say that there are too many.
There are similar hunts in Alaska, including one in the Campbell known as the “Hillside hunt.”
The proposal has support from the public. In a 2010 survey conducted by Responsive Management, 70 percent of Anchorage adults supported the idea of a moose hunt in Anchorage, including large city parks like Kincaid.
At the same time, however, Holly Spoth-Torres, Anchorage’s superintendent of parks said, “at this time, the Municipality of Anchorage does not support hunting on municipal parkland.”
– Teammates Therese Johaug and Marit Bjørgen are often vying for the top spot in the World Cup, but some Norwegian news outlets are suggesting their competition may extend beyond racing. The new competition comes in a business from – both skiers have their respective glove lines, with Johaug starting her unique brand this season and with Bjørgen’s signature Craft gloves. While the some media hyped the possible competition between the two skiing stars, Johaug’s manager Jørn Ernst said that he thinks neither one of them has thought about their competing sales.
December 17th, 2014
- Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland hasn’t started the season the way she hoped. After Sunday’s sprint in Davos Switzerland where she finished 53rd, Kowalczyk decided to sit out the next set of World Cup races, also and Davos.
“Today is my last start in the World Cup this year,” Kowalczyk wrote on her Facebook page after the race. “It has been a tough year.”
She plans to return to racing after the December break for the 2015 Tour de Ski.
– According to NBC, Dario Cologna was recently named Switzerland’s runner-up to the 2014 Athlete of the Year award. The winner of the honor, tennis player Roger Federer, won for a sixth time.
– According to USA Today, European football clubs and leagues are proposing a alternative start to the 2022 FIFA World Cup so that it lasts from May to June. Originally, organizers suggested that the World Cup take place in January and February in order to beat the heat of Qatar’s summer’s. However, the event would likely conflict with the 2022 winter Olympics, which would possibly prove troublesome for both events. The new dates would be beneficial for both the Olympics and and the European clubs, who’s seasons are in the winter months.
December 13th, 2014
By Inge Scheve
Team Coop won the Swix Ski Classics Team Tempo Prologue on Saturday in Livigno, Italy, with the combined-top score from the women’s 15-kilometer mass start and the men’s 15 k team “tempo” time trial.
“The guys were great today and to win together with them was a perfect start of the season,” Team Coop’s Seraina Boner, of Switzerland, said to the Swix Ski Classics media after the race.
Teammate Morten Eide Pedersen, of Norway, was also content with the kickoff to the Ski Classics season.
“It’s great to get a good start, and this event gives us a good starting point for the main race [the 35-kilometer classic] tomorrow,” Pedersen said to Norwegian TV station TV2 after the race.
Team Santander, which included Anders Aukland, Jerry Ahrlin and Andreas Nygaard, finished second overall and the Russian Marathon Team took third.
The Pro Team Prologue/team-time trial is a brand-new format based on cycling, and the Ski Classics use it as a way of introducing its pro teams. The competition consists of a women’s 15 k classic mass start and a 15 k team-time trial for the men. The combined results are based on the top female from each team and the team’s second male in the time trial.
Switzerland’s Boner (Team Coop) skied into a strong third place in the women’s race behind Katerina Smutna (Silvana Madshus) in first and Julia Thikonova (Russian Marathon Team) in second. Smutna, of the Czech Republic, won in 40:16.59, edging Thikonova by 0.73 seconds. Boner was just one-hundredth of a second back in third. Holly Brooks, who joined Team Santander on Thursday night, finished sixth, 13.12 seconds behind Smutna.
“I am not a double-pole specialist, so I was really happy to be able to ski with the group I skied with today,” Brooks wrote in an email after the race. “They destroyed me the last 500 meters, but I was satisfied with my performance and did well enough to keep my team in the competition.”
She joined the Norwegian Team Santander on a whim. Her original plan was to race Friday’s 42 k freestyle La Sgambeda FIS Marathon Cup, followed by the 35 k classic La Sgambeda Swix Ski Classics race on Sunday.
But when the Aukland brothers and their team manager Nils Marius Otterstad more or less headhunted Brooks the night before the 42 k, she wasn’t exactly opposed to racing for them on Saturday.
“Team Santander happened really fast. I’m here in Livigno with Max Olex, a German Salomon skier who skied for University of Alaska Fairbanks,” Brooks explained. “He knows a lot of these guys and he provided the connection. The team leader, Nils Marius came to our hotel at 9:30pm Thursday night, the day before the skate race, and really twisted my arm – in a good way, of course. Emails were shooting back and forth all the way until I left the hotel for the skate marathon Friday morning. Needless to say, it was really stressful and last-minute.”
She didn’t know that Laila Kveli, their female racer who won the Vasaloppet last winter, went home sick, and they were without a woman.
“Each team needs a girl in order to participate in the team prologue and they had no one, and then I became that person,” Brooks wrote.
In the men’s team-time trial on Saturday, Team United Bakeries’ Tore Bjørseth Berdal and John Kristian Dahl (both from Norway) delivered the fastest times of 33:41:03 and 33:41:69, respectively. Pedersen (Team Coop) and Sweden’s Bill Impola finished 21 seconds back, and with Boner’s third place in the women’s race, Team Coop won the combined competition.
Team Santander was about one second behind in second overall.
“Our main focus was to secure the second place in the combined competition in order to get as many points as we could for today, but Coop skied a little faster than us,” Aukland told TV2. “This format of racing is really fun. It’s important to keep evolving long-distance cross-country skiing, so this means a lot to all the teams.”
Team Tempo Details
In the Pro Team Tempo, teams start with a 2-minute time gap in the opposite start order from the Pro Team Ranking. The result is calculated by multiplying the teams’ second-best male’s time by two, and then adding the teams’ best female time. The team with the lowest total time wins the Pro Team Prologue.
Based on results, the Ski Classics award points to the teams, according to the points schedule outlined in its rules, as well as 20 individual bonus points for all skiers finishing within 20 percent of the winning time in each gender.
Pro Team Prologue/Team Time Trial Results
- Team Coop – 1.48.22
- Team Santander – 1.49.28
- Russian Marathon Team – 1.50.41
- Team United Bakeries – 1.52.19
- Team Futura – 1.53.24
- Team Xcalibur Lillsport – 1.53.53
- Silvini Madshus Team – 1.53.58
- Team Pioneer Investments – 1.54.47
- Team Leaseplan Go – 1.54.48
- Skistart.com-Bergslagen – 1.54.49
- Atlas – 1.58.38
- Lyn Ski – 1.58.47
- Lager 157 Ski Team – 1.58.47
- Scame Ski Trab Marathon Team Livigno – 2.01.27
- Team Ski & Run – 2.01.56
- Zizkovsky Tygri – 2.14.53
This season, the Ski Classics added three races: the Team Tempo Prologue and La Sgambeda in Italy this weekend, and the La Diagonela in Switzerland in January.
“Expanding the calendar from six to nine events is a great improvement for the Swix Ski Classic. Athletes, broadcasters and fans have requested a longer season,” Swix Ski Classics CEO David Nilsson said prior to the race-series opener on Saturday. “We have worked hard to be able to start the season already in December. It will also be interesting to see how the ‘January-madness’ of for events on four consecutive weekends will turn out.”
He explained that by introducing the new Team Tempo format, it would make the season-long competition between Ski Classics pro teams more interesting. The format was developed through discussions with athletes and teams, he said.
After this weekend’s double-header in Italy, the Ski Classics take a break until the Jizerská Padesatka 50 k classic in the Czech Republic on Jan. 11.
More information about the Swix Ski Classics: www.swixskiclassics.com
2014/2015 Swix Ski Classics Calendar
- Dec. 13: Prologue, 15km, Livigno (Italy)
- Dec. 14: La Sgambeda, 35 k, Livigno (Italy)
- Jan. 11: Jizerska Padesatka, 50 k, Bedrichov (Czech Republic)
- Jan. 17: La Diagonela, 65 k, St Mortitz (Switzerland)
- Jan. 25: Marcialonga, 70 k, Val di Fiemme (Italy)
- Feb. 1: König Ludwig Lauf, 50 k, Bavaria (Germany)
- March 8: Vasaloppet, 90 k, Mora (Sweden)
- March 20: Birkebeinerrennet, 54 k, Lillehammer (Norway)
- March 28: Årefjällsloppet, 75 k, Åre (Sweden)
December 10th, 2014
- According to NRK Sport, there’s quite the controversy in Sweden surrounding the colors of a hat being sold by the organizers of the 2015 World Championships in Falun. Many say the hat, which features red, white, and blue, looks much like the Norwegian flag and is an insult to Sweden, who’s flag is blue and yellow. However, race organizers said the hat was conceived with the region of the event, Darlarna, in mind, not Norway.
– FIS has begun a new video series called Inside the Fence, that features a behind-the-scenes look at all your favorite World Cup skiers. The series features Kikkan Randall’s husband, Jeff Ellis, interview athletes about their pre-race routines, thoughts, and more.
– After the embarrassment surrounding the 2022 Olympic host city selection, the IOC announced that the organization would allow for Olympic host countries to feature events in more than one city and possibly more than one country. The move comes with the development of a sustainability plan that focuses on creating efficiency and ease for potential host countries. In addition the IOC also added language that forbid discrimination regarding sexual orientation. Host cities will also have to agree to the new addition to the charter.
December 9th, 2014
By Inge Scheve
Norwegian national women’s team member Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, 27, was recently nominated for Oslo Citizen of the Year for her involvement in bringing skiing to kids. Among the efforts that were mentioned was her hosting a Fast & Female girls night last spring, along with Kikkan Randall and several other World Cup racers. More than 190 girls attended.
“Winning isn’t the most important for me,” Jacobsen told the Aftenposten.
Yet the two-time Olympian has a World Championship gold and three bronze medals, plus three individual World Cup victories and 11 Norwegian national titles.
Last winter, Jacobsen’s brother passed away on the day of the Opening Ceremony at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Despite the tragedy, she went on to fourth place in the Olympic skate sprint. How Jacobsen has navigated rough times and challenges remains an inspiration to many.
“I spend a lot of time on training to become a better skier, but my focus is just as much on the process and performance rather than results,” she said. “I see victory as a consequence of a good performance, so indirectly I want to win. But winning isn’t as important as performing.”
That is what Jacobsen, born in Trondheim and a resident of Oslo, aims to share with her community and the members of her ski club, IL Heming. And she is passionate about kids. When she hosted the Fast and Female event this spring, she wanted to show girls age 9 to 19 that physical activity can be an arena for personal growth and learning, in an inspiring and fun environment. Jacobsen believes that results-oriented performance pressure cause a lot of pain for young girls.
“Girls are so eager to go with the flow, so as a role model I want to help girls trust their own instincts and pay attention to what they really want to do,” Jacobsen said. “Everyone is a unique resource and valuable. You just need to identify their talents. Unfortunately, our society over-focuses on some specific traits that are rewarded.”
Jacobsen is in enrolled medical school in addition to her skiing career, although she is currently on academic leave from classes to focus on racing. But she wants to become a doctor, just like both of her parents.
“I get so frustrated with all the media focus on diets and dieting methods. They are commercial, and can be detrimental to people’s self esteem and body image, and make them feel frustrated. Health is so much more than just your body: How you feel is just as important,” she said.
She pointed out the importance of having role models who help show the way and help create a path, and she is grateful to have met some. Her mother is one of them.
“She showed me that there are no limits,” she said. “That is the key to everything, and that’s what I want to share with young people.”
Jacobsen is one of three women nominated for the 2014 Oslo Citizen of the Year, among seven total candidates.
December 1st, 2014
Sami Jauhojärvi considers his World Cup podium on home turf this weekend as great preparation for his debut in the Swix Ski Classics long-distance cup in two weeks.
The 33-year-old, three-time Finnish Olympian, who joined the Team Coop distance squad in October recently decided he wants to have the best possible start in the 2014/2015 Ski Classics this season, and will therefor compete in the opener in Italy. Jauhojärvi finished third on Sunday in the first World Cup distance race of the season in Kuusamo, Finland.
“It was a good result since it was the first race of the season in the traditional distance World Cup. I had fantastic skis,” Jauhojärvi said in a Team Coop press release following his podium in the 15-kilometer classic.
“This gives me confidence and is proof that I have done preseason training in a good way,” he said. “But I still feel I have a bit left to maximize the shape.”
Next weekend, he plans to attend a reception with the Finnish president to celebrate his 2014 Olympic gold in the team sprint (with Iivo Niskanen), and the following weekend, he is slated to competed in the opening race of the Ski Classics: La Sgambeda.
“I really look forward competing in Livigno,” Jauhojärvi said.
While the 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden, remain Jauhojärvi’s main goal this season, he will also race several of the Ski Classics marathons. However, Jauhojärvi is planning to do all the Ski Classics in the 2015/2016 season, which has no major championships.
“Competing with Team Coop and in Swix Ski Classics will for sure help me in my preparation in front of the World Championship at home in Lahti in 2017,” he said.
Team director Oskar Svärd welcomed Jauhojärvi to the team, and explained that the sprint skier will add valuable depth to the Swedish-based distance team.
“Sami is a very interesting skier. We have been looking at possibilities to get a skier with sprint qualities like [him],” Svärd said. “The long-distance ski races are developing fast, and more skiers are focusing on long-distance races. This makes the leading group bigger, and good sprint qualities are decisive to win a race. We are looking forward to have Sami on our team this year, and especially from next season when he will take part at our training camps as well.”
Team Coop consists of the following skiers: Seraina Boner (Switzerland), Annika Löfström (Sweden), Emilie Kristoffersen (Norway), Hilde Losgård Landheim (Norway), Morten Eide Pedersen (Norway), Bill Impola (Sweden), Jimmie Johnsson (Sweden), Oskar Svärd (Sweden) and Sami Jauhojärvi (Finland).