Marit Bjørgen continues to dominate the Tour de Ski after leading an all-Norwegian podium in Tuesday’s 1.4 k women’s freestyle sprint in Val Müstair, Switzerland. Bjørgen has won the Tour’s first three stages.
Bjørgen, who was first after qualifying, cruised to victory in the final in 3:37.73 after easily winning her quarterfinal and semifinal heats. Heidi Weng took second (+1.97), outsprinting fellow Norwegian Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (+2.41), while Sweden’s Stina Nilsson was well back in fourth (+6.40). Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway was fifth (+7.74), and Switzerland’s Laurien Van der Graaff took sixth (+27.71) after stumbling early.
American Sophie Caldwell qualified in seventh and won her quarterfinal heat (3:42.25) by lunging ahead of Italy’s Gaia Veurich (+0.05), but could not snag a lucky loser spot after finishing third in her semifinal, 1.24 seconds behind Bjørgen (3:39.04). Caldwell ended up seventh overall.
Kikkan Randall, also of the U.S., made it through to the semifinals as a lucky loser (+1.95 behind Weng), but struggled to make a deciding move during the fast second semifinal heat. She finished the heat in fifth, 3.20 behind Østberg (3:35.84), and ended up tenth overall. Meanwhile, American Jessica Diggins qualified in 26th and ended up 23rd overall after finishing fifth in her quarterfinal heat (+4.66) behind Nilsson.
On the men’s side, Italy’s Federico Pellegrino – winner of the Dec. 21 World Cup freestyle sprint in Davos, Switzerland – outsprinted and outlunged two Norwegians to win the final heat in a time of 3:13.65. Tour de Ski leader and Sunday’s Oberstdorf pursuit winner Petter Northug was second (+0.18), beating teammate Martin Johnsrud Sundby by 0.01 in a photo finish.
Evgeniy Belov of Russia could not maintain the pace down the stretch, taking fourth (+2.33), while fellow Russian Ilia Chernousov was well back in fifth (+6.07). Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson – third in Sunday’s pursuit – was sixth (+15.05).
American Simi Hamilton – who won last year’s Tour de Ski freestyle sprint in Lezerheide, Switzerland – finished eighth overall after qualifying in 30th. He snuck into the semifinals as a lucky loser after being outlunged in the quarterfinals for second by Dusan Kozisez of the Czech Republic, then finished fourth in his semifinal heat, 1.69 seconds behind Belov (3:16.20).
All three Canadians, including early favorite Alex Harvey, did get past the quarterfinals. After qualifying in 18th, Harvey lost a sprint to the finish (0.23 behind Halfvarsson) to take third in his quarterfinal heat and 16th overall, while Devon Kershaw finished 3.19 seconds behind Poland’s Maciej Starega (3:16.24) to take fifth in his heat and 22nd overall. Len Valjas finished 28th overall after a sixth place finish in his heat.
The Tour de Ski continues tomorrow in Toblach, Italy, with a men’s 10 k and women’s 5 k classic distance race.