March 15th, 2014
Alex Harvey‘s had his share of World Cup podiums and even made history for Canada as the classic-sprint bronze medalist at World Championships last year.
But the men’s 30-kilometer skiathlon on Saturday was different: this was World Cup Finals, this was Harvey’s run for an overall World Cup podium on the line.
The Canadian remained in the top four throughout the entire race, following Sweden’s Daniel Richardsson, Russia’s Alexander Legkov, and Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby — who’s essentially locked up the overall World Cup title — throughout much of the classic portion. After the transition to skating, Harvey started to take control, leading the group throughout much of the next 15 k while Richardsson gradually fell out of contact.
With Harvey, Legkov and Sundby pushing into one final 180-degree turn at the top of a climb, the Russian took the inside lane and Harvey seemed to be moving in slow motion — all part of his strategy. Harvey carefully followed Legkov and Sundby down into the stadium, catching their draft then threading the needle between them to move to second ahead of Legkov, who collided with Harvey and broke a pole.
While Sundby tried to outsprint Harvey, Legkov fell behind and came to grips with third. Harvey nipped Sundby by 0.4 seconds in 1:18.07.6, and Legkov finished 5.9 seconds back in third.
Yelling exuberantly at the finish, Harvey was soon congratulated by his teammate, Devon Kershaw, who placed 12th for his third-best individual result of the season.
Harvey improved to fourth in the overall World Cup standings, behind Sundby, Legkov and Norway’s Chris Andre Jespersen, respectively, with one race to go. He is 133 points behind Jespersen for an overall World Cup podium, and will start Sunday’s 15 k freestyle pursuit first (with the potential to win 200 World Cup points with a victory).
Richardsson took fourth in the skiathlon (+24.7), and Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin led the chase pack to the finish in fifth (+53.9). He beat Norway’s Eldar Rønning, who did much of the work to try to chase the four leaders throughout the race, by 0.8 seconds.
Noah Hoffman led the Americans in 18th, Ivan Babikov was 23rd for Canada. Also for the U.S., Reese Hanneman placed 38th, his second-best individual World Cup result after Friday’s 31st, and Andy Newell was 39th.No comments
March 15th, 2014
Not today Marit! That’s what Marit Bjørgen‘s Norwegian teammate, Therese Johaug, might very well have been thinking Saturday as she sped away to a sizable victory in the women’s 15-kilometer skiathlon — the penultimate race of World Cup Finals in Falun, Sweden.
After Bjørgen came within three seconds of her at the top of the overall World Cup standings, Johaug had to do one thing on Sunday: win. The bigger the gap, the better. Bjørgen, who won Friday’s classic sprint but finished second to Johaug by 33.6 seconds on Saturday, will have to make up that time gap on her teammate to take the overall World Cup crown.
Johaug continued to gap her competition in the skate portion of the skiathlon, leading Bjørgen by 15 seconds at 9 k, then 23 seconds just over 2 k later. With fewer than three kilometers remaining, Johaug had at least 30 seconds separating her from Bjørgen, and she cruised to the victory in 41:08.9.
Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen placed third, 56.6 seconds behind Johaug, and Norway’s Heidi Weng beat out Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla and another Norwegian Kristin Størmer-Steira to the finish in fourth through sixth, respectively. Sweden’s Emma Wiken was seventh, Russia’s Yulia Tchekaleva and Eva Vrabcova-Nyvltova eighth and ninth, and Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg 10th.
Johaug now leads the overall World Cup by seven points, and 15th in the World Cup Finals mini tour.
Kikkan Randall is the top non-Norwegian in the standings in fifth, behind Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen in third and Weng in fourth. The American placed 20th behind teammate Liz Stephen in 15th.
Sadie Bjornsen finished 21st for the U.S., along with Jessie Diggins in 36th, Ida Sargent in 37th, Caitlin Gregg in 40th, and Sophie Caldwell in 41st.
The lone Canadian at World Cup Finals, Andrea Dupont was 45th.No comments
March 14th, 2014
Sweden had one heck of a day on the first of three races at World Cup Finals on Friday, with Teodor Peterson edging his teammate Emil Jönsson by the narrowest of margins, fewer than one-hundredth of a second, for the victory in the men’s 1.4-kilometer classic sprint in Falun, Sweden.
Peterson qualified fifth behind fellow Swede Calle Halfvarsson, then won his quarterfinal and semifinal en route to the final. There, he outlunged Jönsson in a photo finish with the exact same time of 2:55.97. Halfvarsson placed third, 1.01 back, and Canadian Alex Harvey finished fourth, 1.2 seconds behind Peterson, for his best classic sprint of the season. Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov was six-hundredths of a second behind in fifth, and Norway’s Eirik Brandsdal placed sixth (+4.44).
Another Norwegian, Ola Vigen Hattestad clinched his third Sprint World Cup title despite being relegated to last in his quarterfinal for obstruction. He qualified in sixth then ended up 30th, but topped Brandsdal by eight points for the Crystal Globe. Germany’s Josef Wenzl also made the overall sprint podium in third, becoming the first German male to make the Sprint World Cup top three.
Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby, who did not qualify in 34th, continues to lead the overall World Cup standings by a whopping 471 points over Russia’s Alexander Legkov. Chris Andre Jespersen of Norway ranks third, Halfvarsson is fourth, and Harvey is now 12 points behind the Swede in fifth.
American Andy Newell finished eighth after advancing as a lucky loser in third from his quarterfinal, then placing fourth in his semi. Newell was issued a written warning for skating, as was Martti Jylhae of Finland, who placed 12th overall.
Reese Hanneman of the U.S. missed qualifying by 0.45 seconds in 31st, Canada’s Devon Kershaw placed 40th, American Noah Hoffman was 46th, and Canadian Ivan Babikov 47th.No comments
March 14th, 2014
Norway’s Marit Bjørgen and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg battled it out today on the 1.2-kilometer course in Falun, Sweden. Bjørgen won, just barely, edging her teammate by 0.29 seconds.
There was a body length to third-place Stina Nilsson of Sweden, who finished just over a second later, and then a larger gap to the rest of the field. American star and World Cup Sprint Cup winner Kikkan Randall finished fourth just over six seconds behind Bjørgen, followed within the next three seconds by Finland’s Krista Lahteenmaki and American Sophie Caldwell in sixth. World Cup sprint points runner-up Denise Herrmann of Germany just missed the finals and finished seventh overall.
Though Randall clinched her overall Sprint Cup victory last week in Drammen, Norway, she was officially awarded the Sprint Globe today in Falun. This is Randall’s third-straight Sprint Globe victory. Bjørgen has won a total of four times, and retired Norwegian star Bente Skari has five career Sprint Globe wins.
Bjørgen is currently within three points of overall World Cup leader Therese Johaug of Norway.
Other North American qualifiers include US Ski Team Sadie Bjornsen in 13th and Ida Sargent in 20th. Jessie Diggins missed qualification in 34th, Liz Stephen in 44th and Caitlin Gregg in 48th. Andrea Dupont was the lone Canadian to enter, finishing 46th.
Norwegian Astrid Jacobsen finished 22nd after a bad crash in last week’s 30 k in Holmenkollen, Norway, which left her hospitalized with a concussion. Jacobsen is third in the World Cup standings.No comments
March 9th, 2014
Who wins a race by almost two minutes? That would be Marit Bjørgen, Norway’s multiple world champion and Olympic gold medalist, who racked up her fourth Holmenkollen victory in Sunday’s 30-kilometer classic in Oslo, Norway.
Bjørgen gradually broke away from her Norwegian teammate and last year’s 30 k freestyle winner, Therese Johaug, starting around 10 k in. Within six kilometers, Bjørgen was nearly a minute ahead of Johaug, who skied alone in second for the remainder of the race.
A few tried to close, but no one came close, as Bjørgen won by 1:41.2 minutes in 1:20:55.7. Johaug placed second, and Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen finished third, another 44.6 seconds back. Bjørgen now trails Johaug by just 39 points for the overall World Cup lead.
Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla took fourth (+2:46.6) after skiing with Niskanen from around 20 to 24 k, then dropping about 15 seconds behind. Finland’s Aino-Kaisa Saarinen was fifth (+3:08.9), ahead of another Swede, Emma Wiken in sixth (+3:17.8).
It was nearly 45 seconds to the next finisher, with Eva Vrabcova-Nyvltova of the Czech Republic in seventh, Norway’s Kristin Størmer-Steira in eighth, Sweden’s Sofia Bleckur in ninth, and Finland’s Krista Lahteenmaki in 10th.
Russia’s Yulia Tchekaleva placed 11th and American Kikkan Randall was just 5.8 seconds back in 12th (+4:17.7). Norway’s Heidi Weng placed 13th, and Sadie Bjornsen of the U.S. outsprinted another Norwegian, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg by 0.1 seconds for 14th (+4:27.8).
Also for the U.S., Liz Stephen placed 32nd, Sophie Caldwell was 35th, Caitlin Gregg finished 39th, and Ida Sargent was 42nd. Canada’s lone woman entered in the 30 k, Andrea Dupont did not start. American Jennie Bender also did not start.No comments
March 8th, 2014
Daniel Richardsson of Sweden carefully paced himself throughout the grueling 50 kilometers to win in Saturday’s classic mass start World Cup at Holmenkollen in Oslo, Norway.
The race started fast, with skiers hungry for the bonus points at the end of each loop. Five skiers broke off the main pack early on: Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway, Alexander Legkov of Russia, Finland’s Livo Niskanen, Sweden’s Richardsson, and Lukas Bauer of the Czech Republic.
After the second lap all of the leading skiers pulled into the ski exchange except for Bauer, who looked to make a breakaway on the other four men. Bauer gained a twenty-second advantage by opting not to change skis. Sundby and Legkov led the chase, and by the time they reached the 22 k mark they had caught Bauer.
Sundby did the majority of the work at the front of the race, cheered on by the raucous crowd at Holmenkollen. 33 k into the race Sundby took the lead pack into the exchange for the second change of skis. Legkov, Richardsson, and Niskanen followed close behind him. Bauer had been dropped by over 30 seconds.
Shortly after the exchange it was Niskanen who was unable to stay with the pace, and by 36 k he was 18 seconds behind Sundby in the lead.
With three men left in contention for the race, it was Sundby and Legkov who traded leads, with Richardsson skiing behind the two. At 47 k Sundby made an attack up a climb. Richardsson managed to stay with the Norwegian, but Legkov lost contact by a couple of seconds. The Russian fought to catch up and nearly did, but soon fell back again.
Sundby led over the last hill, and as soon as the Holmenkollen stadium came into view with 800 meters left, Richardsson took off with a burst of speed that an exhausted Sundby couldn’t match.
Richardsson carried his lead into the finish line to win with a time of 2:07:29. Sundby was second, a result that was good enough to secure him the overall World Cup title this season, and Legkov was third.
1. Daniel Richardsson (SWE) 2:07:29.5
2. Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR) +8.2
3. Alexander Legkov (RUS) +14.5
4. Livo Niskanen (FIN)+1:22.3
5. Lars Nelson (SWE) +1:55.3
North American Results:
14. Alex Harvey
29. Noah Hoffman
51. Erik Bjornsen
54. Simi Hamilton
56. Reese Hanneman
March 5th, 2014
Still riding high from her Olympic gold medal, Norway’s Maiken Falla claimed her first classic sprint victory in the Drammen sprints, barely edging her teammate, Marit Bjørgen, while Sweden’s Stina Nilsson battled her way into third.
In the men’s race the Norwegians also proved untouchable, with Ola Vigen Hattestad‘s longer legs allowing him the kick needed to get his toe across the line barely ahead of teammate Pål Golberg. In third place was Italy’s Maicol Rastelli, after being given a new lease on life when a mid-race crash took Swedish contender Emil Jönsson and Finn Matias Strandvall out of the podium contention.
Alaskan World Cup sprint leader Kikkan Randall finished in 7th place after just missing the finals, but it was still good enough to wrap up her third-straight Sprint Cup title. Randall started toward the back of her semi-final heat, but powerful double-poling brought her into second place in the final stretch. However, the mad dash of high-tempo striding to the finish line proved too much, and Randall was edged by “less than a toenail” in a photo finish with Nilsson, leaving her in third place and missing her chance to advance to the finals.
Peri Jones was the top Canadian woman, finishing 24th, followed by a deep field of American women with Sadie Bjornsen in 30th, Ida Sargent in 35th, Sophie Caldwell in 37th, Holly Brooks in 48th and Jennie Bender, competing in just her second World Cup after last weekend’s races in Lahti, Finland, finished 51st. Canadian Andrea DuPont was 58th.
Canadian Alex Harvey was the top North American man, finishing in 24th after advancing to the semi-finals but finishing fifth in a closely contested heat. Teammates Len Valjas and Devon Kershaw were 35th and 54th, respectively. American Andy Newell was 25th, bringing in the top finish for American men, followed by teammates Simi Hamilton in 32nd, Erik Bjornsen in 51st, and World Cup newcomers Reese Hanneman and Sylvan Ellefson in 61st and 69th, respectively.8 comments
March 2nd, 2014
After racking up three gold medals at the Sochi Olympics last month, Norway’s Marit Bjørgen rose to the top of the podium in the first distance race back on the World Cup on Sunday in Lahti, Finland.
One of the later starters out of more than 80 women in the 10-kilometer freestyle individual start, Bjørgen worked into the race, taking the lead after the 6.3 k checkpoint and finishing 26.9 seconds ahead of runner-up Charlotte Kalla of Sweden.
Bjørgen won in 25:05.3, and another Norwegian, Therese Johaug finished 0.7 seconds after Kalla in third. Fourth in the freestyle sprint at the Olympics, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen placed fourth on Sunday (+30.1), and the fourth Norwegian in the top five, Heidi Weng was fifth (+34.9).
An early leader, Riitta-Liisa Roponen of Finland placed sixth (+51.0), and her teammate, Kerttu Niskanen was seventh. Sweden’s Emma Wiken finished eighth, Finland’s Kaisa Makarainen was ninth, and France’s Coraline Hugue was 10th.
Kikkan Randall was the top American in 21st (+1:36.3). Liz Stephen finished 32nd (+1:53.7), Holly Brooks was 44th, and Caitlin Gregg 46th.
Alysson Marshall placed 62nd for Canada, and her Alberta World Cup Academy teammate was right behind in 63rd. Cendrine Browne was 68th, and Andrea Dupont 71st.No comments
March 2nd, 2014
Coming off a bronze medal at the Olympics in the 30-kilometer skiathlon, Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway showed everybody, including his mom, that he’s at the top of his game with a win in Sunday’s 15 k freestyle individual start in Lahti, Finland.
One of the later starters in the 90-plus-man field, Sundby finished with the fastest time of 33:05.5, more than 10 seconds ahead of anyone else.
Sweden’s Daniel Richardsson took second, 10.7 seconds back, and Russia’s Alexander Legkov, coming off gold in the Olympic 50 k skate exactly a week ago, placed third, 11.2 behind Sundby. Norway finished fourth through sixth with Anders Glørssen, Finn Hågen Krogh, and Sjur Røthe, respectively.
German U23 Florian Notz broke through in seventh in his first World Cup race, finishing 1.7 seconds ahead of Canada’s Alex Harvey, who was eighth (+55.0). France’s Jean Marc Gaillard took ninth, and Finland’s Matti Heikkinen was 10th.
Noah Hoffman led the U.S. men in 24th. Erik Bjornsen, also of the U.S. Ski Team, was 51st. Reese Hanneman (APU) placed 73rd, and Sylvan Ellefson (SSCV/Team HomeGrown) was 79th.
After Harvey, Ivan Babikov placed 29th for Canada, Graham Nishikawa (Canadian Senior Development Team/Para-Nordic Team) was 41st, Devon Kershaw 43rd, Michael Somppi (AWCA) 58th, Kevin Sandau (AWCA) 80th, and Raphael Couturier (CNEPH) 85th.No comments
March 1st, 2014
Pål Golberg of Norway seized victory in today’s freestyle sprint in Lahti, Finland. Golberg, who’s first World Cup win came in December’s sprint in Lillehammer, received some luck on his path to the finish line. Golberg qualified for the final heat as a lucky loser, and found himself skiing for much of the final heat in second to last.
In the final, Matias Strandvallen (FIN) and Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) fell simultaneously but unrelated to each other, leaving the sprint to be contested by Golberg, Alexey Petukhov (RUS) in second, Eirik Brandsdal (NOR) in third, and Teodor Peterson (SWE) in fourth.
Emil Jönsson of Sweden was the favorite to win today having won the sprint race in Lahti the past three years. However, in his semifinal his ski went under Alex Harvey, causing him to collide with the Canadian and stand up on his skis to avoid falling in the final stretch. Jönsson tweeted, according to a translation: “Last three World Cup races, I have fallen / broken rod, in the Olympics, I stood up. Maybe will try to continue with that tactic #wisely #GrattisPål”
The North American results were led by Harvey in seventh, and American Simi Hamilton in 20th.
1. Pål Golberg (NOR)
2. Alexey Putkhov (RUS)
3. Eirik Brandsdal (NOR)
4. Teodor Peterson (SWE)
5. Matias Strandvall (FIN)
6. Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR)
North American Results:
7. Alex Harvey (CAN)
20. Simi Hamilton (USA)
28. Andy Newell (USA)
43. Len Valjas (CAN)
64. Devon Kershaw (CAN)
69. Erik Bjornsen (USA)
80. Reese Hanneman (USA)
82. Raphael Couturier (CAN)
83. Graham Nishikawa (CAN)
93. Sylvan Ellefson (USA)