March 4th, 2012
Emil Joensson narrowly avoided a crash on the final downhill and went on to outsprint his Swedish teammate, Teodor Peterson, to win Sunday’s 1.4 k classic sprint in Lahti, Finland.
The fastest qualifier of the day, Joensson nearly collided with Nikita Kriukov (RUS) on the infamous hairpin turn, but both stayed on their feet. Joensson won by a toe in 3:13.9 ahead of Peterson, the World Cup sprint leader. Kriukov was third (+0.9). Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) finished fourth (+1.0), Sami Jauhojaervi (FIN) was fifth (+3.0) and Gleb Retivykh (RUS) fell off the pace early to finish sixth (+3.4).
Joensson won the qualifier in 3:09.31.
Simi Hamilton led the American men, qualifying in 13th and advancing to the semifinals, where he finished sixth. Hamilton was 11th overall. Andy Newell made it to the quarterfinals and was 15th overall. He qualified in 19th.
Lenny Valjas was the lone Canadian qualifier in 27th. He ended was fourth in his quarterfinal and ended up 19th.
Other North American finishes:
44. Alex Harvey (CAN)
51. Devon Kershaw (CAN)
62. Sylvan Ellefson (USA)
81. Mike Sinnott (USA)
84. Noah Hoffman (USA)
85. Kris Freeman (USA)
Notes From The Rounds
The heat was basically defined by a crash between Alexander Panzhinskiy (RUS) and Matias Strandvall (FIN) just as the pair approached the difficult Lahti corner before dropping into the stadium. Sweden’s Emil Joensson was strong to the line for first with Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) taking second.
The second heat was much slower than the first as Teodor Peterson (SWE) controlled things early. He was able to cruise down the final meters with Siim Sellis (EST) besting the rest of the men through the stadium for second.
In the third heat it was the Russians that got the best of the Finish team. The Russian duo of Gleb Retivykh and Nikita Kriukov skied away from Finland’s four skiers in the heat, Retivykh even tucking down portions of the final homestretch on his way to the win.
In the fourth heat, Nikolay Morilov (RUS) took control at the front about a third of the way through the course. Andy Newell (USA) remained in second for much of the race until Kent Ove Clausen (NOR) moved ahead. As the group descended into the challenging final corner before the stadium, Newell remained in third, but tried a risky move on the inside to gain an advantage on the Norwegian and move into second. It, however, did not work and the pair went down allowing Fabio Pasini (ITA) to slide into second. That is how they would come to the line with Newell in third. As Clausen crossed the line he motioned to Newell and it was not clear if he was upset or just acknowledging the challenging day.
The fifth heat was equally as exciting as Simi Hamilton battled in the stadium with two Swedes, Simon Persson and Robin Bryntesson. As they charged to the line a late surge by Hamilton almost gave him second, but his time was fast enough to advance as the luck loser.
In the first semifinal heat it was Emil Joensson (SWE) that pushed the pace with his teammate Teodor Peterson that followed in second. Nikita Kriukov (RUS) stayed close, but lost his balance on the descent into the stadium. He remained on his feet, but bobbled again just before the homestretch and lost contact with the Swedes.
In the second heat it was four that came through the Lahti corner clean with a double pole battle in the stadium to follow. By the end it was Gleb Retivykh (RUS) that crossed the line first with Sami Jauhojaervi (FIN) finishing second.
The second heat was significantly slower than the first, so both lucky losers would be from the first heat as Kriukov and Hattestad advanced.