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Québec City to Host 2017 World Cup Finals

Quebec City's own Alex Harvey greeting the crowd at the Ski Tour Canada last year in Quebec City, Quebec. (Photo: Gestev)

Quebec City’s own Alex Harvey (12) greeting the crowd at the Ski Tour Canada last year in Quebec City, Quebec. (Photo: Gestev)

On Sunday, the International Ski Federation (FIS) announced that 2017 Cross-Country World Cup Finals have been officially moved to Québec City, Quebec. The season-ending event was originally scheduled for Tyumen, Russia, but when Tyumen relinquished its hosting responsibilities last month, FIS approached Québec City, according to a press release from the Québec organizers, Gestev.

The three-day World Cup Finals will take place Friday through Sunday, March 17-19, and include a sprint day and two days of distance racing on the Plains of Abraham.

“The exact formats and starting times will be communicated later after further discussion with all the key stakeholders,” a FIS press release stated.

“We’re excited to announce this great news for Canadian athletes and the people of Quebec City, and it’s all taking place thanks to teamwork and dialogue between numerous stakeholders,” said Gestev President Patrice Drouin said, according to a press release. “An event like this reiterates our support for cross-country skiing and these remarkable athletes as well as strengthening existing ties between the FIS, the City of Quebec, the National Battlefields Commission and many more public and private event partners.”

More details will be posted as they become available.

Kasper Opposed to Blanket Sanction: ‘That’s Wrong Both Humanly and Legally’ (Updated)

According to the International Ski Federation (FIS) in an email to FasterSkier on Thursday, FIS President Gian-Franco Kasper “has always maintained that he is opposed to a blanket sanction against all Russian athletes — this has nothing to do specifically with Cross Country or the six provisionally suspended athletes, but rather with the situation around the McLaren report as a whole.” FasterSkier previously reported that Kasper spoke out against the decision of FIS’s Doping Panel to provisionally suspend six Russian cross-country skiers, which was originally reported by the Russian News Agency, TASS. In its email to FasterSkier, FIS wrote that this was not the case. “We should not suspend those who are innocent,” Kasper previously told the German public broadcasting radio station, Deutschlandfunk, according to TASS. “We should punish only whose who are guilty, we cannot do that indiscriminately just because they have Russian passports. That’s wrong both humanly and legally. “I understand…

A Week Later: The Outlook for Johaug and Latest Speculation

By Aleks Tangen On Wednesday, Anti-Doping Norway handed its cross-country skiing superstar Therese Johaug a two-month provisional suspension after she tested positive for the anabolic steroid clostebol. Since the Norwegian Ski Federation’s press release and subsequent press conference last Thursday, Oct. 13, much has made it into the news and here is status of her case at this point: Norwegian national broadcaster NRK published an article on Wednesday explaining what the suspension will mean to Johaug. She is not allowed to compete until Dec. 18 and will therefore miss a total of four World Cup weekends, where based the previous season’s price money, she could have potentially earned more than 700,000 Norwegian kroners, (roughly $86,000 U.S. dollars with the current exchange rate), according to both NRK and Norwegian tabloid Dagbladet. In addition, Johaug will not be allowed to use any of the Norwegian Olympic Committee’s facilities or train with the Norwegian national team. However, Dagbladet reported that she’ll be able to train with teammates like…

Kari-Pekka Kyrö’s Lifetime Ban Overturned

Lifetime ban no more? The former head coach of the Finnish cross-country team Kari-Pekka Kyrö, who was at the epicenter of his team’s doping scandal at the 2001 Lahti World Championships, may be a free agent after the Finnish Ski Federation recently overturned his lifetime ban, Ski-Lines reported on Sunday. But first, that decision must be approved by Finland’s Anti-Doping Agency and the International Ski Federation (FIS). According to FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis, in such cases, FIS trusts the national federations’ decisions. Under Kyrö, six Finnish skiers — Janne Immonen, Jari Isometsä, Harri Kirvesniemi, Mika Myllylä, Milla Jauho, and Virpi Kuitunen — tested positive for banned substances, allegedly used to disguise their use of erythropoietin (EPO). As part of his punishment, Kyrö had to pay a fine for importing illegal drugs into his country. “All these years, it was very hard,” Kyrö, 52, said. “This [coaching] is the only profession in which I have a degree and…

FIS Survey Seeks Fan Feedback

(Press release) FIS Cross-Country would like to learn from its fans and followers, athletes, teams and the media what they like about the FIS Cross-Country World Cup in its current format and what should be changed in future. In order to collect as much feedback as possible a survey has been prepared in multiple languages. Click below to submit your feedback: English French German Finnish

STC Canmore Photo Galleries

Earlier this month, photographer Jon Nelson attended the Ski Tour Canada races in Canmore, Alberta, and has posted six galleries worth of photos recapping the action. See the complete collection here: http://www.jon-nelson.com/category/cross-country-skiing

Ski Tour Canada Eastern Stage Photos Available

FasterSkier contributing photographer John Lazenby has posted the following galleries from the first three stops and four stages of the 2016 Ski Tour Canada (in Gatineau, Montreal and Quebec City). Special thanks to John. See all of his images at Lazenbyphoto.com. STC East: Highlights (general interest) STC East: Athletes, Coaches, Volunteers    

Johaug and Sundby Win Out in Final Stage of STC; Diggins and Harvey 5th Overall

Saturday was a good day to be a favorite — and an overall World Cup leader as who have been beating out the masses all season won the final race of 2015/2016 and last stage of the Ski Tour Canada (STC), the classic pursuits in Canmore, Alberta. Norway’s Therese Johaug raced from second to first in the women’s 10-kilometer classic pursuit, overcoming a 30-second starting deficit and beating teammate Heidi Weng by 1:07.8 minutes in 34:12.4. Weng shook her head in disappointment at the finish after being unable to hang with Johaug, both the Overall and Distance World Cup winner, after Johaug caught her around 4 k and dropped Weng shortly thereafter. “I cannot believe that I win this Tour because it’s three sprint races …,” Johaug said in a post-race interview with FIS. “Everybody knows that I’m good in [the final climb of the Tour de Ski], but here it is normal…

Heikkinen Nabs First Win in Five Years; Canada’s Harvey Fourth and Babikov 10th

On Friday, Finland’s Matti Heikkinen, 32, won his first World Cup race since 2011, chasing down the time of Russia’s Evgeniy Belov and beating it at the line in the men’s 15-kilometer freestyle individual start by 13.6 seconds in 35:16.3 in the seventh stage of the Ski Tour Canada in Canmore, Alberta. Belov had initially commanded the race, holding off Canada’s Alex Harvey by 8.1 seconds at the finish. But the two wouldn’t end up going 1-2. Instead, Heikkinen bumped Belov to second, and Sweden’s Marcus Hellner slotted into third, 13.9 seconds behind Heikkinen and just 0.3 seconds behind Belov. Harvey missed the podium by 7.8 seconds and ended up 21.7 seconds out of first. Behind him, France’s Robin Duvillard took fifth (+28.8), Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby settled for sixth (+37.5), Norway’s Finn Hågen Krogh placed seventh (+37.6) and a third Norwegian, Petter Northug, took eighth (+47.4). Canada’s Ivan Babikov notched his second-straight…

Østberg Tops Podium in STC 10 k Freestyle; Diggins 5th

Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg took the lead by the 6.9-kilometer checkpoint and never looked back to win the penultimate stage of Ski Tour Canada, the women’s 10 k freestyle individual start in Canmore, Alberta.  The Norwegian covered the challenging Canmore course in 23.20.1, besting her teammate and overall Tour leader Heidi Weng by 23.0 seconds.  Finland’s Krista Parmakoski reached the podium in third (+24.5) while Norway’s Kari Øyre Slind was a tenth of a second off the podium in fourth. American Jessie Diggins rocketed to fifth (+32.6) ahead of Norway’s Therese Johaug, who sits in second in the Tour, after Johaug placed sixth (+40.1). With one stage remaining, Weng leads Johaug by 30 seconds heading into Saturday’s 10 k classic pursuit. Østberg is up to third, 1:24.4 back, ahead of a fourth Norwegian, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen in fourth overall (+1:57.4). Diggins ranks fifth, 3:20.2 behind Weng and just 6.6 seconds ahead of Parmakoski in sixth. Also…