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Bjørgen 4-for-4 in Tour de Ski with Toblach 5 k Classic Stage Win

Marit Bjørgen rolled to her fourth Tour de Ski victory in as many stages and fifth-straight win on Wednesday, besting the women’s 5-kilometer classic individual start by more than 10 seconds over Norwegian teammate Therese Johaug in Toblach, Italy.

Before the race, Bjørgen said she considered double poling the whole thing.

“I was thinking about it then I heard the Norwegian guys say it’s not so big difference,” she said in a post-race interview with FIS. “I feel I’m in perfect shape and incredible, actually.”

Bjørgen started last of 52 women remaining through four stages in the Tour and posted the third-fastest 1.7 k time, 1.6 seconds behind Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk, who led through that point, and 0.9 seconds back from Johaug. Bjørgen topped Kowalczyk’s time at the 2.1 k mark by 0.5 seconds then continued to hammer over the final three kilometers to pull out the win in 12:48.5.

Johaug was third-fastest at 2.1 k and 10.8 seconds off Bjørgen’s mark at the finish. Heidi Weng completed another Norwegian podium sweep in third (+13.1), just ahead of Sweden’s Emma Wiken, an early leader who eventually ended up fourth (+13.8).

Kowalczyk faded over the final few kilometers to place fifth (+17.6), another early leader Anne Kyllönen of Finland took sixth (+19.8), and Russia’s Evgenia Shapovalova was seventh (+21.1). American Sadie Bjornsen started 40th and initially finished fourth before ending up eighth (+22.7), for her second-best World Cup stage result after placing seventh in this year’s opening prologue of the Tour.

Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg took ninth (+26.1), and Sweden’s Anna Haag was 10th (+31.6).

Also for the U.S., Jessie Diggins made it into the top 20 in 19th (+52.1), and Liz Stephen placed 29th (+1:01.6) to move into 16th in the overall Tour standings.

Kikkan Randall was 42nd, Sophie Caldwell 45th, and Ida Sargent 46th after posting the 20th- and 22nd-fastest times though the 1.7 and 2.1 k checkpoints.


Tour standings through 4 stages

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Bjørgen, Gløersen Win World Cup Distance Races in Davos

In the second week of World Cup racing in Davos, Switzerland, Marit Bjørgen won the 10 k freestyle with relative ease. Cruising to a time of 24:57.4 the Norwegian earned yet another victory this season to extend her lead in the World Cup standings. Following Bjørgen to the podium was Nicole Fessel (+19.9) of Germany. The second place finish was her third World Cup podium. In third was Norwegian Heidi Weng (+26.7).

The women’s top ten had more international representation than in previous weeks, with four nations (Norway, Sweden, Germany, and Finland) having at least two members from each country.

Liz Stephen (+1:00.8) finished her day with a season-best 12th, while teammates Jessie Diggins (+1:30.2) and Sadie Bjornsen (+1:35.5) also placed in the points in 27th and 29th positions. Canada’s Emily Nishikawa finished 49th and American Caitlin Gregg finished 54th (of 55 skiers.)

In the men’s race, Anders Gløersen of Norway skied a dominant race to win the 15 k freestyle with a time of 34:27.9. It was the Norwegian’s first distance victory on the Wolrd Cup. Teammates Petter Northug (+4.8) and Chris Andre Jespersen (+10.4) completed the podium for another Norwegian sweep.

Canadian Ivan Babikow was the first North American, finishing 34th and +1:18.4 back from Gløersen. Following Babikov were Alex Harvey in 38th, Devon Kershaw in 52nd, Graeme Killick in 54th, Erik Bjornsen in 56th, and Kevin Sandau in 70th.

Results: Women | Men

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Østberg, Krogh Lead Norwegian Sweep in Davos Sprint

Ingvild Østberg dominated Sunday’s World Cup freestyle sprint in Davos, Switzerland to lead Norway in a podium sweep. In her first win of the season, Østberg placed first in the qualifier and often led her heats by large margins. Ultimately she crossed the finish line of the women’s final with a time of 2:33.72. In second was Maiken Falla, who was the only finisher close to Østberg, finishing 0.57 seconds back. Celine Brun-Lie claimed third after losing a pole in the semifinal round. She finished 2.37 seconds behind Østberg.

Norwegians Marit Bjørgen (+3.16) and Heidi Weng (+3.79) placed fifth and sixth, while Stina Nilsson (+11.0) of Sweden finished sixth after losing her pole.

Three American’s raced in the quarterfinals, with Ida Sargent eventually finishing in 16th, Kikkan Randall in 20th, and Sophie Caldwell in 22nd.

Much like Østberg, Finn Krogh seemed untouchable in the men’s freestyle sprint. Throughout the day, the Norwegian’s only competition came from Federico Pellegrino, but after the Italian stumbled in the semifinals Krogh had a clear path to the win. In the final, the sprint leader crossed the line with a time of 2:18.16. Completing the Norwegian sweep were Anders Gløersen (+0.62) and Eirik Brandsdal (+1.07).

Alexey Petukhov of Russia was fourth (+1.35), Calle Halfvarsson of Sweden was fifth (+2.06), and Tomas Northug was sixth (+2.29).

The top North American finish of the day come from the Canada’s Lenny Valjas who finished 13th after qualifying 10th. USST’s Andy Newell was the only other North American to make the heats and ended his day in 15th.

Women’s results | Men’s results

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Sundby Bumps Tønseth by 6.6 Seconds for Davos 15 k Classic Win

Didrik Tønseth probably felt pretty good about himself after bumping Switzerland’s Dario Cologna from the leader’s chair on Saturday in the 15-kilometer classic individual start at the Davos World Cup. He might not have been the Swiss fans’ favorite at the time, but it was quite a feat to top Cologna by 0.7 seconds.

At the same time, Tønseth probably knew what was coming — his Norwegian teammate Martin Johnsrud Sundby, who ended up topping him by 6.6 seconds for his sixth individual World Cup win in 39:39.7.

My plan was to ski 3 even laps. I tried to keep the same pace,” Tønseth told FIS after the race. “I thought that the course here would not fit me because I like steeper uphills. Last year I also started last season strong, but after the Christmas it was not good. I hope I can keep the good shape until the World Championships in Falun.”

Sundby said he wasn’t sure whether to race on classic or double pole on skate skis, like Cologna did. Cologna was the only one in the field to do so, and ended up on the podium, 7.3 seconds behind Sundby.

I expected that last 5 km to be really hard if I went double poling,” Sundby told FIS. “After 10 km when I heard that Dario had a big lead I thought I made a wrong choice.”

But he hadn’t. Not only did Sundby beat Tønseth and Cologna, he completed the three-lap course faster than his teammate Sjur Røthe, who ended up fourth (+16.4) and Sweden’s Daniel Richardsson in fifth (+22.9).

I am very happy to finish on the podium,” Cologna told FIS. “My first races at the beginning of the season were not good. I decided to go double poling. It was a right choice for me. I had a good speed until the end.”

An early leader, Norway’s Petter Northug finished 10th (+54.9).

Alex Harvey led the Canadians in 17th (+1:05.8), Devon Kershaw was 32nd (+1:45.5), Graeme Killick placed 41st (+2:08), and Kevin Sandau was 70th (+4:07.4) in his first World Cup of the season.

Erik Bjornsen placed 48th (+2:31) for the U.S., and Reese Hanneman was 79th (+5:36.4) of 83 men.


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Johaug Destroys Field in Davos 10 k Classic, Bjørgen 42 Seconds Back

Therese Johaug did it again, beating Norwegian teammate Marit Bjørgen by more than 42 seconds — 42.5 to be exact — in the women’s World Cup 10-kilometer classic individual start on Saturday in Davos, Switzerland.

Johaug started a minute ahead of Bjørgen and consistently posted the fastest times through each passing checkpoint on the two-lap course. At 2 k, Bjørgen was just over a second back in second, and by 5 k, she was 11 seconds down to Johaug. That gap grew to 20 seconds by 7.8 k, and over the last two kilometers, Johaug hammered for the win in 28:30.8.

Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen placed third, 58.5 seconds behind Johaug, and Sweden’s Anna Haag was 8.6 seconds off the podium in fourth. Sweden took fifth as well with Sofia Bleckur (+1:16.4), Norway’s Heidi Weng was sixth (+1:21), and Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk finished 0.7 seconds after Weng in seventh. Finland’s Anne Kyllönen was eighth, Sweden’s Sofia Henriksson ninth, and Finland’s Laura Mononen 10th.

Liz Stephen led the U.S. in 20th for her best result of the season so far, finishing 2:04 behind Johaug.

The Americans took 20th, 21st and 22nd, all within 5.5 seconds of one another, with Jessie Diggins in 21st (+2:08.8) and Sadie Bjornsen in 22nd (+2:09.5).

Canada’s Emily Nishikawa landed in the points for the first time in her World Cup career with a personal-best 29th (+2:31.9).

Ida Sargent (USA) was 47th (+3:19.3) and Caitlin Gregg (USA) 56th (+4:31.3) out of 58 finishers.


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Bjørgen, Sundby Earn Lillehammer Mini Tour Titles After 10/15 k Pursuit

Martin Sundby of Norway executed what appeared to be a flawless plan in Sunday’s 15 k classic pursuit in Lillehammer, Norway. Starting with a 20-second deficit on fellow Norwegian Finn Krogh, Sundby held back in the first lap of the race. Making his move, the 2014 Overall World Cup Champion caught Krogh and ultimately passed him to win the final stage of the Lillehammer World Cup mini tour with a time of 39:48.2.

Krogh who attempted to stay with Sundby for much of the last two thirds of the race, finished second (+16.6). Three more Norwegians claimed third through fifth with Sjur Røthe (+36.5), Pål Golberg (+37.5), and Dedrik Tønseth (+43.7) finishing within 10 seconds of each other. Tønseth earned the fastest time of the day.

Canadian Alex Harvey was the top North American finisher in 10th, with teammate Ivan Babikov placing 29th after both skiers clocked the seventh and 10th fastest times of the day.

American Erik Bjornsen started in 53rd and ended in 39th.

In the women’s race, it was yet another battle between Norwegians Marit Bjørgen and Therese Johaug for the top spot. This time it was Bjørgen who won with a time of 28:19.7. Johaug was jut 0.6 seconds back to place second while teammate Heidi Weng  finished third, 12.3 second back.

Sadie Bjornsen was the first North American woman across the line in 18th after starting the day in 17th. Teammate Liz Stephen finished 29th.

Men’s 15 k pursuit results | Women’s 10 k pursuit results

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Johaug Bests Bjørgen by 0.3 Seconds; Norway Takes 6 of Top 7

Therese Johaug pulled out a 0.3-second win over Norwegian teammate Marit Bjørgen on Saturday in the second day of the Lillehammer World Cup mini tour in Norway. Johaug posted the winning time of 12:33.7, and another, Norwegian Heidi Weng, was 10.9 seconds back in third for the second-straight day to put her in second behind Bjørgen in the mini-tour standings.

Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla missed the podium by just 0.4 seconds in fourth on Saturday, and Norway occupied six of the top seven.

While Weng currently trails Bjørgen by 19.9 seconds, Johaug improved from 14th to third, 32.1 seconds off the lead heading into Sunday’s final 10 k classic pursuit. Johaug won last week’s 10 k classic by 42 seconds over Bjørgen.

“It was very close between me and Marit,” Johaug told FIS after Saturday’s 5 k. “I was nervous sitting in the leader’s chair. Last weekend I had one of my best performances in my career but it will be difficult to repeat it.”

Jessie Diggins led the Americans in 15th on Saturday, moving from 55th to 21st overall. Sadie Bjornsen placed 20th to put herself in 17th, and Liz Stephen finished 22nd to improve to 35th (from 71st) for the U.S.

Caitlin Gregg (USA) placed 62nd in the 5 k, and Kikkan Randall (USA) was another three seconds back in 63rd. For Canada, Emily Nishikawa placed 67th, and Perianne Jones was 71st. Ida Sargent (USA) finished 79th, and Sophie Caldwell (USA) was 84th.

Top 10

  1. Therese Johaug (NOR) 12:33.7
  2. Marit Bjørgen (NOR) +0.3
  3. Heidi Weng (NOR) +10.9
  4. Charlotte Kalla (SWE) +11.3
  5. Ragnhild Haga (NOR) +22.7
  6. Martin Ek Hagen (NOR) +24.9
  7. Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) +30.5
  8. Yulia Tchekaleva (RUS) +31.1
  9. Ida Ingemarsdotter (SWE) +33.0
  10. Petra Novakova (CZE) +34.0

Results: Women’s 5 k | Through Stage 2

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Norway Gets Back-to-Back Lillehammer Sprint Wins with Bjørgen, Golberg

At least Pål Golberg‘s victory in the men’s 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint on Friday was a little bit of a nail biter. The 24-year-old Norwegian sat tight and timed his attack perfectly to overtake and outsprint Russia’s Alexey Petukhov and Norway’s Finn Hågen Krogh before the finish of the World Cup final in Lillehammer, Norway.

Skiing in the back three until the final massive climb up toward the stadium, Golberg and the chase group caught the leaders by the base, where Golberg rode his momentum and attacked through the top to move to second behind Krogh. He ended up holding off Petukhov and nipping Krogh for the win in 3:20.51. Petukhov was second, 0.24 seconds back, and Krogh settled for third, just five-hundredths of a second behind the Russian.

Finland’s Juho Mikkonen charged hard late for fourth (+0.56), and Canada’s Alex Harvey slipped from third on the last climb to fifth at the finish (+1.13). Norway’s Emil Iversen finished last in the men’s final in sixth (+4.15).

Marit Bjørgen came out on all cylinders in front of a Norwegian-strong crowd, leaving no question as to who would win each of her 1.3 k quarterfinals and semifinals: a leader from start to finish — it was going to be her. In the final, Bjørgen jolted off the line with the same tactic, leading a train of three other Norwegians throughout the race.

Heidi Weng trailed her initially, then Celine Brun-Lie and Maiken Caspersen Falla, respectively. Germany’s Denise Herrmann and Slovenia’s Katja Visnar were finalists, too, but the two women didn’t see any action near the front.

Bjørgen led her teammates into the stadium, where Brun-Lie won the race for second, edging Weng by 0.04 seconds. Bjørgen capped the day with a 0.76-second victory in 2:55.71 for her second-straight sprint win in as many World Cup sprints this season.

After Weng in third (+0.8), Falla finished fourth (+1.43), Visnar was fifth (+4.43), and Herrmann sixth (+7.57).

Two North Americans qualified for the heats: Sadie Bjornsen of the U.S. and Harvey for Canada.

In the women’s race, Bjornsen qualified in 16th and went on to finish fifth in her quarterfinal behind Norway’s Heidi Weng in first, Herrmann in second, Norway’s Silje Øyre Slind in third, and Norway’s Kathrine Rolsted Harsem in fourth. Bjornsen placed 21st overall.

Results: Men | Women

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Harvey Outlasts Sundby, Legkov for Skiathlon Win, World Cup Finals Lead

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.


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Peterson Narrowly Bests Jönsson; Swedes Sweep Podium and Harvey Fourth in Falun

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.


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Bjørgen Edges Østberg to Take Falun Sprint, World Cup Finals Lead

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.

Complete Results

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Bjørgen Takes Fourth Holmenkollen Title by Nearly Two Minutes; Randall 12th, Bjornsen 14th

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.

“I knew I had to ski in front to be fighting for bonus points,” Bjørgen told FIS after the race. “If I am to win the overall World Cup I have to be good and faster than Therese next three competitions.”

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.


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Gracious Norwegians Allow Other Nations a Bronze Medal in Drammen Sprints, Sweep Silver and Gold

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.

Results: Men | Women

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Nobody Comes Close to Beating Bjørgen in Lahti 10 k Skate

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.


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Sundby Steps Up for 15 k Skate Victory in Lahti; Harvey Eighth

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.


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Golberg Gets Back to Winning Ways in Lahti Skate Sprint; Harvey Seventh

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)



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Legov Takes 15 k Classic Win from Cologna in Last Distance Race Before Olympics; Harvey Fifth

Russia's Alexander Legkov leads Canadian Alex Harvey (r) during the men's World Cup 15 k classic individual start on Saturday in Toblach, Italy. Legkov went on to win and Harvey placed fifth. (Photo: Peggy Hung)

Russia’s Alexander Legkov leads Canadian Alex Harvey (r) during the men’s World Cup 15 k classic individual start on Saturday in Toblach, Italy. Legkov went on to win and Harvey placed fifth. (Photo: Peggy Hung)

In what looked to be a fairytale re-entry to the World Cup for Dario Cologna, the plot line didn’t quite play out for the Swiss superstar in Saturday’s 15-kilometer classic individual start in Toblach, Italy.

Cologna started 25th in his first World Cup of the season following an ankle injury in the fall, then rose to the top — finishing with the fastest time by 45 seconds. Others tried to match him, including Russia’s Dmitriy Japarov, who came 21 seconds short in second, and Sweden’s Marcus Hellner, who bumped Japarov down a spot after finishing 14.7 seconds back from Cologna.

Ultimately, Russia’s Alexander Legov had the most juice left at the finish, edging Cologna by 2.9 seconds with the winning time of 37:02.7. Cologna settled for second, Hellner was third (+17.6), Japarov placed fourth (+23.8), and Canadian Alex Harvey notched fifth (+27.4). Petter Northug was the top Norwegian in sixth (+48.3) and an early leader, Lars Nelson of Sweden, ended up seventh (+48.6).

A week before his first Olympics, Erik Bjornsen led the way for the U.S. in 18th (+1:17.9), his first World Cup top 20.

Canada had two in the top 40 with Devon Kershaw in 39th and Graeme Killick in 40th, Noah Hoffmann (USA) was 41st, Jesse Cockney (CAN) placed 51st, Ivan Babikov (CAN) was 62nd, Kris Freeman (USA) 64th, and Brian Gregg (USA) 69th.


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Norwegians Back on Top: Bjørgen Wins Toblach 10 k Classic by 36 Seconds; Four U.S. Women in Top 20

Marit Bjørgen (r) on her way to winning Saturday's World Cup 10 k classic individual start in Toblach, Italy. (Photo: Peggy Hung)

Marit Bjørgen (r) on her way to winning Saturday’s World Cup 10 k classic individual start in Toblach, Italy. (Photo: Peggy Hung)

In Marit Bjørgen‘s first World Cup race back since a stomach virus took her out of the Tour de Ski a month ago, the Norwegian showed she’s in top form exactly a week before the Olympics, winning the 10-kilometer classic individual start in Toblach, Italy.

And she made a statement as she did so, posting the fastest times through the two checkpoints at 2.1 and 6.7 k and winning by 36.7 seconds in 26:54.2. Teammate Therese Johaug was second for the Norwegian 1-2 sweep, and Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla notched third, 42.9 seconds behind Bjørgen, in her first World Cup since Davos, Switzerland, in mid December. Second with just over 3 k to go, Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk ended up fifth, following Norway’s Heidi Weng in fourth.

“I am very happy with my result today,” Bjørgen told FIS.  “I was not so strong at Norwegian championships so I was not sure of my shape.”
The 33 year old was third in the 10 k classic at Norwegian nationals on Jan. 16, finishing 1:11 minutes behind Johaug as the winner and 11 seconds after Weng in second.
“It gives me good confidence for Sochi,” Bjørgen said on Saturday. “The competition will be tough, but I hope to win at least one individual gold medal.  My plan is to compete in all six events.”
The Americans had four in the top 20 with Liz Stephen leading the way in 11th, Kikkan Randall placing 15th, Sadie Bjornsen finishing 17th, and Ida Sargent in 20th. Holly Brooks was right there as well in 22nd, and Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg/Madshus) placed 45th. Canada’s lone starter, Emily Nishikawa was 40th.

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Kowalczyk Dusts Women’s 10 k Classic on Her Birthday at Home; Stephen Sixth

A heavy favorite for the women’s 10-kilometer classic mass start in Szklarska Poręba, Poland, Justyna Kowalczyk lived up to her home-crowd’s delight on Sunday, dropping the field soundly by the halfway point and striding to a 41.8-second win.

On her 31st birthday, Kowalczyk finished without anyone in sight in 34:34.2, and waited at the finish to congratulate Russian runner-up Yulia Tchekaleva. Another Russian, Julia Ivanova rounded out the podium in third, 1:15.2 minutes behind, after outsprinting Germany’s Denise Herrmann by four seconds. After Herrmann in fourth, Germany’s Claudia Nystad took fifth, 5.2 seconds ahead of American Liz Stephen in sixth (+1:26.4). For Stephen, it was a career best in an outright World Cup (not including stages).

Germany had three in the top seven with Stefanie Boehler (+1:28.4), who finished ahead of Russia’s Natalia Zhukova in eighth (+1:47.8). Ida Sargent of the U.S. placed ninth (+1:49.3) for her best result of the season, and Austria’s Katerina Smutna was 10th.

Also for the U.S., Kikkan Randall tallied 14th a day after winning her second-straight World Cup skate sprint, Sophie Caldwell was 16th, and Jessie Diggins 24th. Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg/Madshus) did not finish.



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Randall on a Hot Streak, Wins 2nd Straight Skate Sprint in Poland

Kikkan Randall (U.S. Ski Team) reiterated that she’s in top form three weeks out from the Olympics, qualifying in 10th then winning each of her heats on Saturday at the World Cup 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint in Szklarska Poręba, Poland.

Putting herself in prime position coming into a flat-and-fast finish, Randall outsprinted Germany’s Denise Herrmann for the victory in 3:06.89, her second-straight sprint win since dominating last weekend’s freestyle final in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.

“Today took a lot more strategy,” Randall said in a post-race interview with her husband and FIS media coordinator Jeff Ellis. “With the draft out there and fast conditions, fast finish you really had to be confident on your feet out there.”

Randall edged Herrmann by 0.25 seconds for the win and Slovenia’s Vesna Fabjan placed third, 1.10 seconds back. Another American in the final, Jessie Diggins followed Randall toward the finish before getting caught up on a corner with Switzerland’s Laurien Van der Graaff. The two went down, Poland’s Sylwia Jaskowiec used the home fans to fuel her to fourth, 1.42 behind Randall, and Diggins got up to finish fifth (+6.99). Van der Graaff came across the line nearly 20 seconds later in sixth.

Earlier in the afternoon, Jaskowiec qualified in second behind Italy’s Greta Laurent, who won the qualifier in 3:08.69 but placed fifth in her quarterfinal. Herrmann qualified third and Sophie Caldwell of the U.S. advanced in fourth.

Caldwell ended up seventh after winning her quarterfinal and placing third in her semifinal.

Perianne Jones led Canada with a season-best 10th after qualifying in 30th, and teammate Dasha Gaiazova placed 23rd after qualifying in 26th and placing fifth in her quarterfinal.

American Ida Sargent qualified 15th and ended up 13th, after placing third in her quarterfinal, and Liz Stephen tallied a career-best sprint result of 15th after qualifying in 22nd and edging Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk for third in the quarterfinals. The sixth American woman, Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg/Madshus) narrowly missed qualifying in 33rd.

Final results | Qualifier

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