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Wild Rumpus Sports
 

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.

Results

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.

Results

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)

 

Results

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.

Results

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.
***

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.

Results

 

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

Harvey Wins Sprint in Poland, Newell Falls in A-Final After Qualifying Second

Canadian Alex Harvey was once again on top of the podium with his win in the freestyle sprint at the World Cup in Szkarska Poreba, Poland. Harevey, who qualified 7th, out-sprinted Gremany’s Josef Wenzl and France’s Baptiste Gros in the final stretches of the fast and tactical course.

American Andy Newell qualified in second position and skied a smart and controlled quarterfinal and semifinal. In the A-final, however, Newell fell on one of the last turns into the finish, knocking him out of contention for the podium. He ended his day in sixth.

Top ten:

Alex Harvey (CAN)

Josef Wenzl (GER)

Baptiste Gros (FRA)

Cyrill Gaillard (FRA)

Martin Jager (SUI)

Andy Newell (USA)

Anton Gafarov (RUS)

Tim Tscharnke (GER)

Nikita Kruikov (RUS)

Gleb Retivkykh (RUS)

Qualification

Final Results

 

Østberg Speeds Norwegian Women Into 1st in Nove Mesto Team Sprint, Finland Comes In Close 2nd, American Women 6th

Norwegian women hammered their way to victory today in the classic Team Sprint, in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic today, edging Finland’s Mona-Lisa Malvalehto and Aino-Kaisa Saarinen.

The Norwegian team, composed of Maiken Caspersen Falla and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, finished the 6×1.3-kilometer course in 20:58.47, 3.8 seconds ahead of Finland. The Norwegian women were less than a half-second behind Finland at the final tag, when Østberg turned on the afterburners, posting a blisteringly fast 3:13.58, by far the fastest individual leg of the day. In third place was Russia II, composed of Evgenia Shapovalova and Julia Ivanova (+4.56).

Russia I took fourth (+26.01), while Norway II was fifth (+26.7).

American women were sixth-place (+34.18), fielding Ida Sargent and Sophie Caldwell, while the Canadian women, Perianne Jones and Dasha Gaiazova,  were 13th, advancing to the semifinals. American standouts Kikkan Randall and Sadie Bjornsen decided not to race.

Complete Results

 

Kriukov Outsprints Norwegians for Russian Classic Sprint Victory

Nikita Kriukov pulled a classic Kriukov move in finishing stretch of Sunday’s World Cup classic team sprint in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, double poling hard toward the line while two Norwegians — Eirik Brandsdal and Ola Vigen Hattestad — tried to match him.

While Hattestad was already slightly off the pace heading into the stadium in third, Brandsdal led into the finish before Kriukov ultimately stepped around him and won by 0.22 seconds. Kriukov secured the 1.6-kilometer team sprint victory for Russia I, with teammate Maxim Vylegzhanin, in 22:03.89, Norway I finished second with Eldar Rønning and Brandsdal, and Norway II took third (+1.78) with Pal Golberg and Hattestad.

Andy Newell led the chase pack into the stadium for the last time in fourth, but Ales Razym of the Czech Republic (with teammate Martin Jaks) overtook him in the final meters by 0.54 seconds, 13.74 seconds behind the winners. The Americans finished fifth with Simi Hamilton and Newell (+14.28), holding off Germany I (Sebastian Eisenlauer/Josef Wenzl) in a photo finish by seven-hundredths of a second.

Switzerland took seventh (+20.93), France was eighth (+22.08), Italy ninth (+26.47) and Sweden II 10th (+50.32).

Results

Ustiugov Wins Nove Mesto Qualifier, Newell Second; Visnar Top Female

The World Cup is back in full swing in Nové Mesto, Czech Republic, where Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov, 21, opened with the fastest qualifying time in the men’s 1.6-kilometer freestyle sprint in 2:52.44. American Andy Newell qualified in second, 3.51 seconds off the pace, and Finland’s Martti Jylhae ranked third, 3.63 seconds back.

Also for the U.S., Simi Hamilton advanced to the heats in 25th (+7.71), and Brian Gregg (Team Gregg/Madshus) finished 87th three days after flying in from U.S. nationals in Utah. No Canadian men raced.

In the women’s 1.3 k freestyle sprint, Slovenia’s Katja Visnar won the qualifier in 2:44.51, 0.7 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Ida Ingemarsdotter. Laurien Van Der Graaff of Switzerland had the third-fastest time, 0.83 second back.

American Kikkan Randall qualified in 10th (+2.52), Canada’s Dasha Gaiazova was close behind in 12th (+2.67), and Sophie Caldwell of the U.S. was 23rd (+3.73). Canadian Perianne Jones missed qualifying in 39th (+6.79).

In her first race back since late December, Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk did not qualify in 34th (+5.78).

Ida Sargent of the U.S. placed 50th (+9.49) and Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg/Madshus) was 64th.

Results: men | women

Niskanen Fends Off Three Norwegians for 10 k Win in Tour Stage 4

About halfway through the women’s 10-kilometer classic mass start on Wednesday in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, Kerttu Niskanen decided it was time to take control for Finland and passed three Norwegians, Therese Johaug, Astrid Jacobsen, and Heidi Weng.

Niskanen also overtook Finnish teammate Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, leading her by 1.2 seconds through 5.5 k. While Johaug dropped about 2 1/2 seconds off the pace, the Norwegian didn’t waste any time coming back to chase Niskanen to the finish along with Jacobsen and Weng.

Ultimately, Niskanen held them all off, winning the fourth stage of the Tour de Ski in 26:27.4, four-tenths of a second ahead of Jacobsen in second. Johaug placed third (+1.1), Weng was fourth (+1.9) and Saarinen finished fifth (+2.5) in the lead pack — which finished 21 seconds ahead of Finland’s Anne Kyllonen in sixth.

Norway’s Marit Bjørgen withdrew from the Tour because of a “slight virus,” according to Eurosport commentators, after racing through the stomach bug in the freestyle sprint the day before.

Liz Stephen led the North Americans in 26th, 54.6 seconds behind Niskanen. Also for the U.S., Jessie Diggins placed 31st, Sophie Caldwell was 32nd and Holly Brooks 49th. The lone Canadian racing, Dasha Gaiazova finished 58th.

Jacobsen moved into the Tour lead, 35.4 seconds ahead of Østberg in second and Niskanen elevated herself to third (+36.5). On her last day before withdrawing from the Tour, Caldwell ended up 16th. Diggins planned to continue on in 21st, less than 2 seconds ahead of Stephen in 22nd.

Results 

Poltoranin Rings in 2014 with First Win of the Season in Stage 4

Alexey Poltoranin of Kazakhstan saw enough of second place in 2013, finishing second in three World Cup races (including one team sprint) yet never reaching the podium in November or December.

The 26 year old put that to rest on Wednesday — New Year’s Day — as he won the 15-kilometer classic mass start at Stage 4 of the Tour de Ski in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

In the final kilometer of the race, Poltoranin caught Russia’s Stanislav Volzhentsev to take the lead. Coming into the finishing straight, Germany’s Hannes Dotzler charged hard in second as he tried to catch him, but to no avail as Poltoranin put down his relentless double pole to the finish.

He won in 34:28.1, and Dotzler placed second, 0.6 seconds back. Volzhentsev took third (+1.0) in a photo finish with another German, Thomas Bing, who was fourth (+1.1). Daniel Richardsson of Sweden edged Finland’s Sami Jauhojaervi for fifth (+4.0), Germany’s Jens Filbrich was seventh, Russia’s Sergey Turyshev eighth, Norway’s Sjur Røthe ninth, Russia’s Ilia Chernousov 10th.

“Difficult race … guys very crazy,” Poltoranin told FIS. “It was very fast, but I was the fastest today.”

Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway placed 14th (+10.2) to take the overall Tour lead ahead of Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson, who was 25th and currently 31.7 seconds back in the Tour standings. Canadian Alex Harvey relinquished the leader’s bib after placing 40th on Wednesday, moving him down to third (+35.3) in the Tour.

In the top 10 early on, Harvey and teammate Devon Kershaw dropped off the pace while another Canadian, Ivan Babikov, picked off the places. Babikov finished 19th, 18 seconds behind Poltoranin, and Kershaw ended up 47th.

Noah Hoffman led the U.S. in 55th, Andy Newell was 68th and Simi Hamilton 74th out of 91.

The women’s 10 k classic mass start begins at 15:45 CET.

Results

Hamilton Makes History with Lenzerheide Sprint Win in Stage 3 of Tour

Minutes after making history as the first American male to win a Tour de Ski stage in the third race of the 2013/2014 Tour, Simi Hamilton said it hadn’t sunk in yet.

The 26-year-old Colorado native started out the last day of the year winning Tuesday’s 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint qualifier, just ahead of fellow U.S. Ski Team member Andy Newell in second. Hamilton went on to win his quarterfinal and semifinal in picture-perfect fashion, coming from behind to win the men’s final in 2:37.02, just 0.32 seconds ahead of Canadian Alex Harvey in second.

“I didn’t think I had it until I was, like, five feet across the line,” Hamilton told FIS media coordinator Jeff Ellis after the final. “I just focused on skiing through the finish and sticking to my guns.”

Hamilton is the second American to win a Tour de Ski stage after Kikkan Randall, Ellis’ wife.

“I’m in very good company for sure; Kikkan is a hero to us as U.S. skiers,” Hamilton said. “This hasn’t really sunk in yet so I don’t know what to say … This course, this venue this town, it’s amazing.”

Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby was third (+0.74), Italy’s Federico Pellegrino placed fourth (+0.94), and an early leader Finn Haagen Krogh of Norway placed fifth (+1.61). Sunday’s sprint winner in Stage 2 in Oberhof, Germany, Calle Halfvarsson of Sweden finished sixth (+2.96).

Newell placed fourth in his semifinal to finish eighth overall, a season best.

Results | Qualifier results

Erikson Nabs First Career Win in Tour Skate Sprint; Diggins Top North American in 18th

Hanna Erikson proved there’s only one place you need to go big, and that’s the final as the Swede beat two Norwegians and three Germans in the 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint final on Sunday, the second stage of the Tour de Ski in Oberhof, Germany. After qualifying in 24th, she bested Germany’s Denise Herrman, who placed second 0.79 seconds later, and Norwegian Ingvild Oestberg in third, 4.32 back from Erikson’s winning time of 3:25.69.

Fourth place was taken by Germany’s Nicole Fessel (+4.4) and Saturday’s prologue winner and current Tour leader, Marit Bjørgen of Norway placed fifth (+4.8).

Norway’s Therese Johaug narrowly missed advancing to the final heat, placing seventh overall and with the third-fastest spot in her semifinal heat, but her time was not sufficient to move on as a lucky loser. Saturday’s surprise third-place finisher, Poland’s Sylwia Jaśkowiec, advanced to the semifinals after winning her quarterfinal heat.  However, she had the slowest time of either semifinal, coming in over 30 seconds behind Herrman, who won her semifinal. Jaskowiec finished 12th overall.

American Jessie Diggins was the top North American skier, placing 18th overall after finishing fourth in her quarterfinal. Behind her was American Sophie Caldwell in 22nd, Canadian Dasha Gaiazova in 27th and her teammate Perianne Jones in 28th.

Americans Liz Stephen and Holly Brooks both failed to qualify, finishing 33rd and 37th, respectively.

Results

Halvarsson of Sweden Wins Stage 2 of TdS

Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson won the second stage of the Tour de Ski on Sunday in the men’s 1.5 k freestyle sprint final in Oberhof, Germany. In densely falling snow, Halfvarsson fended off Italy’s Federico Pellegrino and a late-charging Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway to capture Sweden’s second win of the day (Hanna Erikson won the women’s final.)

Andy Newell, Alex Harvey, and Devon Kershaw all qualified for the quarterfinals.  Harvey and Kershaw raced against each other in the first quarterfinals, with Harvey advancing in second and Kershaw just missing out in third.

Harvey started his semifinal in third position until Russian Alexander Legkov’s ski caught him and he fell at the base of a climb. Unable to catch up, he finished the day in 11th.

Newell also advanced to the semifinal round, finishing 10th overall.

Results

1. Calle Halfvarsson (SWE)

2. Federico Pellegrino (ITA)

3. Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR)

4. Jens Eriksson (SWE)

5. Josef Wenzl (GER)

6. Petter Northug (NOR)

 

North American results:

10.  Andy Newell (USA)

11.Alex Harvey (CAN)

18. Devon Kershaw (CAN)

35. Simi Hamilton (USA)

95. Noah Hoffman (USA)

101. Ivan Babikov (CAN)

Harvey, Østberg Top Tour Sprint Qualifiers in Oberhof; Caldwell Fifth

The good vibes are still very much with Alex Harvey a day after the Canadian won the opening stage of the Tour de Ski in Oberhof, Germany, finishing just ahead of his teammate Devon Kershaw in Saturday’s freestyle prologue.

Harvey went on to post the fastest men’s time in the 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint qualifier in 2:49.76, finishing 2.34 seconds faster than Sweden’s Jens Eriksson in second. Ales Razym of the Czech Republic was just another five-hundredths of a second back in third, and Russia’s Alexander Legkov another two-hundredths back in fourth.

After Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson in fifth, Norway’s Petter Northug qualified in sixth, and Great Britain’s Andrew Musgrave in seventh.

Kershaw advanced to the heats in 10th, Andy Newell of the U.S. qualified in 12th, but Simi Hamilton was a second out of the top 30 in 35th.

In the women’s 1.5 k qualifier, Norway’s Ingvlid Flugstad Østberg was fastest around the one-loop course in 3:08.6. Finland’s Anne Kyllonen was second, 0.27 seconds back, and Slovenia’s Alenka Cebasek third (+1.68). Norway’s Marit Bjørgen qualified in fourth (+2.76) ahead of American Sophie Caldwell in fifth (+3.05). Caldwell edged Germany’s Denise Herrmann in sixth by one-hundredth of a second.

After France’s Celia Aymonier in seventh, Norway’s Therese Johaug and Astrid Jacobsen qualified in eighth and ninth, respectively. Canada’s Dasha Gaiazova advanced in 10th, Perianne Jones moved on in 14th, and Jessie Diggins of the U.S. ranked 18th.

Also for the U.S., Liz Stephen placed 33rd, missing the top-30 cut by 0.78 seconds, and Holly Brooks was 37th, another 1.75 seconds back.

Results: men | women

Canadians Back on Top: Harvey, Kershaw Go 1-2 in TdS Prologue

After somewhat of a slow start to the season, the Canadians found some serious speed on Saturday in Oberhof, Germany, as Alex Harvey finished first and Devon Kershaw took second in the 4.5-kilometer freestyle prologue — the first stage of the Tour de Ski.

“It was obviously a great day for me,” Harvey told FIS. “[Four-and-a-half] k prologues are always very hard, you need to pace it really perfectly I think if you want to be in the top ten.  So try to start fast, but save some power for the last lap.”

Kershaw sat in the leader’s chair for a good portion of the race after topping Swede Jens Eriksson‘s previous best by 11.4 seconds. Harvey was the only man to finish faster by 4.1 seconds in 9:03.4, bumping Kershaw to second.

“It’s awesome to share the podium with Kersh,” Harvey added. “It’s the second time we do that, and the second time in a prologue actually, so it’s great to have Canada one, two.”

Despite some late Norwegian starters, their  positions held as Chris Jespersen of Norway placed third, 10.2 seconds behind Harvey. Russia’s Ilia Chernousov was fourth, France’s Robin Duvillard fifth, and Norway’s Martin Sundby sixth, while Eriksson ended up seventh.

Finland’s Sami Jauhojaervi rounded out the top 10 in eighth, along with Norway’s Finn Haagen Krogh in ninth and Estonia’s Aivar Rahemaa in 10th.

The 12th starter, Andy Newell led the U.S. in 20th (+20.4) after hovering just outside the top 10 for much of the race. Canada’s Ivan Babikov had a personal-best prologue finish in 26th (+24.8), just 0.2 seconds behind Norwegian Petter Northug in 25th.

Also for the U.S., Simi Hamilton placed 42nd and Noah Hoffman was 82nd out of 106. Lenny Valjas did not start.

Results

Bjørgen Off to Fast Start in Tour de Ski Opening Prologue; Two U.S. Women in Top 10

Norway’s Marit Bjørgen didn’t have any trouble getting going in the rainy-and-slow conditions in Oberhof, Germany, winning Saturday’s Tour de Ski opening 3-kilometer freestyle prologue — the first of seven stages.

Bjørgen bested teammate Astrid Jacobsen by 1.9 seconds with the fastest time of 6:34.4.

“It was a short race so its really hard to find the right speed, but today it was good for me,” Bjørgen told FIS. “It’s a good start. It’s been 2 weeks since my last competition so it’s good to be back again.”

The Tour’s four-time defending champion, Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland did not race for reasons that were immediately unknown.

“I’m very sorry, but in this situation I can not occur in Tour de Ski,” Kowalczyk wrote on her Facebook page on Saturday morning.

Another Polish skier stepped up in her place, with 27-year-old Sylwia Jaśkowiec tallying her first World Cup podium in third, 7 seconds behind Bjørgen.

Denise Herrmann of Germany was fourth (+8.4), American Jessie Diggins notched fifth (+9.2) for her best Tour de Ski stage result (and tying her best individual World Cup finish). Diggins was 62nd in the Oberhof 3 k prologue last year.

Finland’s Anne Kyllonen and Aino-Kaisa Saarinen finished sixth and seventh, respectively, on Saturday, and Slovenia’s Alenka Cebasek was eighth (+10.7) and American Sophie Cadwell ninth (+11.8) ahead of Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen in 10th (+12.0)

Also for the US Ski Team, Holly Brooks finished 21st and Liz Stephen placed 34th.

Canada’s Dasha Gaiazova took 37th and Perianne Jones was 47th of 78 finishers.

Results

Finland’s Saarinen, Kyllönen Dominate Classic Team Sprint; U.S. Fifth and Eighth

On another muggy morning in Asiago, Italy, Finland’s women showed they have no problem keeping pace on slow snow as Aino-Kaisa Saarinen and Anne Kyllönen routed the 10-team final with a 10-second victory.

Neck and neck with Finland for most of the race, Norway I fell four seconds behind on the second-to-last lap of the 6 x 1.25-kilometer classic team sprint, with Ingvlid Flugstad Østberg tagging Maiken Caspersen Falla in second and Falla falling another six seconds back on the final lap.

The Norwegians settled for second, 9.68 seconds off Finland’s winning time of 19:15.72, after barely holding off Germany’s Katrin Zeller and Denise Herrmann, who finished 0.34 seconds later in third.

Norway II took fourth with Kari Gjeitnes and Celine Brun-Lie (+11.53) and the Americans placed fifth (+18.48) with Sadie Bjornsen and Kikkan Randall. Bjornsen brought the team as high as fourth into the last exchange, but they were still more than 2 seconds behind Norway II in third and 12 seconds out of first.

USA II’s Ida Sargent and Sophie Caldwell finished eighth (+20.56) in the final, and Caldwell posted the third-fastest course time on her first lap.

Canada placed 16th overall after Perianne Jones and Dasha Gaiazova placed eighth in the second semifinal.

Results