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Wild Rumpus Sports

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.


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

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.


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

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.


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.


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)



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.


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.



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)


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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)