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Østberg, Ustiugov Win Canmore Qualifier; 4 Americans + 3 Canadians Advance

CANMORE, Alberta — Let the betting begin. With five women topping the charts in Tuesday’s classic sprint qualifier, team Norway is taking no gamble as they head into the rounds.

Leading the women’s 1.5-kilometer classic sprint qualifier at the fifth stage of the Ski Tour Canada was Ingvild Flugstad Østberg of Norway in a time of 3:41.61. Second went to her teammate Maiken Caspersen Falla (+4.97) while Therese Johaug finished in third (+8.79).

Four American women qualified for Tuesday’s classic sprint in Canmore, led by Sophie Caldwell in ninth (+12.42). Sadie Bjornsen qualified in 11th (+13.35) and 1.23 seconds behind her was Jessie Diggins in 13th (+14.58). Ida Sargent was the final U.S. woman to qualify in 18th (+15.51).

Canada’s Dahria Beatty made it into the rounds in 29th (+18.95), the first Canadian to finish and only one to qualify.

Americans Annie Hart and Kaitlynn Miller finished in 36th and 38th resepectively. They were followed by Rosie Brennan (USA) 41st, Olivia Bouffard-Nesbit (CAN) 42nd, Emily Nishikawa (CAN) 44th, Katherine Stewart-Jones (CAN) 46th, Caitlin Gregg (USA) 47th, Cendrine Browne (CAN) 50th, Jennie Bender (USA) 51st, Jenn Jackson (CAN) 52nd, Maya Macisaac-Jones (CAN) 53rd, Katharine Ogden (USA) 54th, Sophie Carrier-Laforte (CAN) 56th, Chelsea Holmes (USA) 57th, Annika Hicks (CAN) 59th, Alannah Maclean (CAN) 60th, and Liz Stephen (USA) 61st.

The men’s 1.5 k classic sprint qualification was led by Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov in a time of 3:21.33. Second fastest qualifier time went to Norway’s Erik Brandsdal (+1.04), and third was Norwegian teammate Martin Johnsrud Sundby (+1:56). 

Two Canadians qualified, including Alex Harvey in 14th (+5.41) and Len Valjas in 18th (+7.03).

No American men qualified for the heats.

“The snow slowed dramatically,” Chris Grover, U.S. head coach said during an in-person interview. “The later athletes weren’t gliding  nearly as much as as the earlier ones.”

Leading the Americans was Erik Bjornsen in 44th. Also competing in Tuesday’s sprint was Devon Kershaw (CAN) in 33rd, Simi Hamilton (USA) 47th, Knute Johnsgaard (CAN) 48th, Andy Newell (USA) 52nd, Patrick Stewart-Jones (CAN) 54th, Jess Cockney (CAN) 54th, Bob Thompson (CAN) 58th, Graeme Killick (CAN) 59th, Russell Kennedy (CAN) 61st, Reese Hanneman (USA) 62nd, Andy Shields (CAN) 64th, Kevin Sandau (CAN) 66th, Ivan Babikov (CAN) 68th, Noah Hoffman (USA) 69th, Simone Lapointe (CAN) 70th, Scott Patterson (USA) 72nd, Eric Packer (USA) 73rd, Michael Somppi (CAN) 76th, Tad Elliott (USA) 77th, Dakota Blackhorse-vonn Jess (USA) 78th, Brian Gregg (USA) 81st, and Matt Liebsch (USA) 83rd.

Qualifying results: Women | Men

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Harvey Hammers to 2nd at Home in Québec Skate Sprint

Canadian and Quebec native Alex Harvey pushing to the finish of the men's freestyle sprint final on Friday at the third stage of the Ski Tour Canada in Quebec City, where he placed second to France's Baptiste Gros (not shown), while Norway's Petter Northug (behind) placed fourth. (Photo: Flyingpointroad.com/NNF)

Canadian and Quebec native Alex Harvey (12) pushing to the finish of the men’s freestyle sprint final on Friday at the third stage of the Ski Tour Canada in Quebec City, where he placed second to France’s Baptiste Gros (not shown), while Norway’s Petter Northug (behind) placed fourth. (Photo: Flyingpointroad.com/NNF)

Amidst the hoots and hollers of his home crowd, Québec native Alex Harvey raced to a second place in the men’s 1.7-kilometer freestyle sprint on Friday in the third stage of the Ski Tour Canada in Québec City.

In the final, Harvey headed up against Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov, Norway’s Petter Northug, Poland’s Maciej Starega, and the two French skiers, Baptiste Gros and Richard Jouve. However, only Gros proved faster than the Canadian. Gros came from behind on the final stretch into the finish to win in 3:36.26, with Harvey crossing 0.55 hundredths of a second back. In third was Ustiugov, crossing 0.79 hundredths of a second after Gros. Northug placed fourth (+1.91), Starega was fifth (+2.12) and Jouve sixth (+2.18). With the silver medal, Harvey moved into fourth in the overall Tour standings.

Simi Hamilton led the U.S. men in eighth, after finishing fourth in his semifinal. Canadian National Development Team skier Jess Cockney placed fifth in the other semifinal for 10th overall, his best result since breaking through in ninth in 2012 at the last Canadian World Cup in Canmore, Alberta

Two other U.S. Ski Team members made the men’s heats. Erik Bjornsen (U.S. Ski Team) ended up 20th after finishing fourth in his quarterfinal, and Andy Newell was 29th after finishing sixth in his quarterfinal.


In the women’s 1.5 k sprint, Sweden’s Stina Nilsson took the win in a time of  3:37.15, besting Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla by eleven hundredths of a second. Rounding out the women’s podium was Norwegian Heidi Weng in third (+0.56).

Rounding out the women’s sprint final was Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg in fourth (+1.09), Norwegian Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen fifth (+1.57), and Sweden’s Ida Ingemarsdotter in sixth (+9.43). 

Three U.S. women finished in the top 13 (and four in the top 20), with Sadie Bjornsen, the fastest qualifier of the day, ultimately placing eighth after finishing fourth in her semifinal. Sophie Caldwell reached the semifinals as well, where she finished fifth for 10th overall, and Jessie Diggins took 13th on the day after placing third in her quarterfinal. That puts Diggins seventh overall in the Tour. The fourth U.S. Ski Team member on Friday, Ida Sargent placed 20th after finishing fourth in her quarterfinal.

Stay tuned for more details and results in our comprehensive race recaps.

Results: Men | Women

Tour standings (through Stage 3): Men | Women

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Sadie Bjornsen Wins Québec City Qualifier; Harvey Qualifies 12th

Sadie Bjornsen racing to her first-ever qualifying win in a World Cup freestyle sprint on Friday at the third stage of the Ski Tour Canada in Quebec City. (Photo: Peggy Hung)

Sadie Bjornsen (U.S. Ski Team) racing to her first-ever qualifying win in a World Cup freestyle sprint on Friday at the third stage of the Ski Tour Canada in Quebec City. (Photo: Peggy Hung)

U.S. Ski Team member, Sadie Bjornsen set the stakes high for the women’s 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint rounds, after she finished first in the qualifier on Friday at stage three of the Ski Tour Canada in Québec City, Québec.

Bjornsen completed the 1.5 k women’s course in a time of 3:42.81, for her best-ever qualifier in a World Cup freestyle sprint. Finishing eight-hundredths of a second behind Bjornsen’s time in second was Norway’s Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen. Another Norwegian Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, finished third, eight-tenths of a second off of Bjornsen’s winning time. 

Along with Bjornsen, three other U.S. women qualified for the heats, including Jessie Diggins in fourth (+1.84), Sophie Caldwell in 22nd (+7.12), and Ida Sargent in 27th (+9.05). No Canadian women qualified, with Maya Macisaac-Jones the first female to finish for Canada in 34th (+10.51).

Also finishing outside of the top 30 in the women’s qualifier was American Rosie Brennan in 33rd (0.73 seconds out of 30th), Caitlin Gregg (USA) in 38th, Dahria Beatty (CAN) 39th, Anne Hart (USA) 47th, Liz Stephen (USA) 50th, Olivia Bouffard-Nesbit (CAN) 51st, Sophie Carrier-Laforte (CAN) 53rd, Emily Nishikawa (CAN) 54th, Jennie Bender (USA) 57th, Kaitlynn Miller (USA) 58th, Katherine Stewart-Jones (CAN) 59th, Chelsea Holmes (USA) 60th, Jennifer Jackson (CAN) 61st, Cendrine Browne (CAN) 62nd, Marie Corriveau (CAN) 63rd, Katharine Ogden (USA) 64th, Alannah Maclean (CAN) 65th, and Annika Hicks (CAN) 68th. Andrea Dupont of Canada did not start.

The men’s 1.7 k freestyle qualifier win went to Norway’s Finn Hågen Krogh in a time of 3:33.14. Norwegian teammate, Emil Iversen finished in second, 0.29 seconds back from Krogh’s time. In third was Italy’s Federico Pellegrino, 1.58 seconds off of Krogh’s first place finish.

Québécois favourite, Alex Harvey of Canada was the first North American qualifier in 12th (+4.63). Simi Hamilton was the top American in 13th, three-hundredths of a second behind Harvey (+4.66). U.S. ski team member Andy Newell qualified in 23rd (+7.77) and American Erik Bjornsen in 27th (+7.97). Canadian Jesse Cockney also qualified in 29th (+8.48).

Finishing out of the top 30 in the men’s field was Len Valjas (CAN) in 38th, Reese Hanneman (USA) 45th, Eric Packer (USA) 48th, Devon Kershaw (CAN) 53rd, Knute Johnsgaard (CAN) 54th, Andy Shields (CAN) 56th, Michael Somppi (CAN) 59th, Dakota Blackhorse-vonn Jess (USA) 64th, Noah Hoffman (USA) 65th, Patrick Stewart Jones (CAN) 68th, Scott Patterson (USA) 70th, Graeme Killick (CAN) 71st, Ivan Babikov (CAN) 72nd, Russell Kennedy (CAN) 73rd, Kevin Sandau (CAN) 74th, Tad Elliott (USA) 76th, Bob Thompson (CAN) 78th, Brian Gregg (USA) 79th, Matt Liebsch (USA) 80th, and Simon Lapointe (CAN) 81st.

Results: Women’s Qualifier | Men’s Qualifier

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Hamilton Second in Qualifier; Harvey 15th to Reach Skate Sprint Heats

After his fellow U.S. Ski Team member Jessie Diggins raced to second in the women’s qualifier, Simi Hamilton repeated the feat in second in the men’s 1.7-kilometer freestyle sprint at the first stage of the Ski Tour Canada in Gatineau, Quebec.

Hamilton posted the second-fastest time in the qualifier, 0.45 seconds behind Norwegian Petter Northug’s top time of 3:12.99. Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov qualified third, 0.78 seconds back from Northug.

Local favorite Alex Harvey, of Quebec, finished 15th in the qualifier, 4.18 seconds back, for his first time reaching the top 30 of a World Cup skate sprint this season. Erik Bjornsen of the U.S. advanced to the heats in 27th (+7.42), along with Canadian Knute Johnsgaard, of the Alberta World Cup Academy and Senior National Development Team, in 29th (+7.8).

Finishing outside the top 30, Reese Hanneman (USA) placed 35th (+8.46), Len Valjas (CAN) was 37th, Andy Newell (USA) 42nd, Andy Shields (CAN) 48th, Devon Kershaw (CAN) 50th, Bob Thompson (CAN) 52nd, Jess Cockney (CAN) 53rd, Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess (USA) 54th, Russell Kennedy (CAN) 59th, Michael Somppi (CAN) 68th, Kevin Sandau (CAN) 70th, Eric Packer (USA) 72nd, Noah Hoffman (USA) 74th, Scott Patterson (USA) 75th, Graeme Killick (CAN) 76th, Ivan Babikov (CAN) 78th, Tad Elliott (USA) 81st, Matt Liebsch (USA) 82nd, Brian Gregg (USA) 83rd, Patrick Stewart-Jones (CAN) 84th, and Mark Rajack (Trinidad and Tobago/XC Ottawa) 86th.

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Diggins Second to Falla in Lahti for Best Sprint Result; Bjornsen 10th

American Jessie Diggins (l) on the podium after placing second in the World Cup freestyle sprint on Saturday in Lahti, Finland, behind Norwegian winner Maiken Caspersen Falla (c). Diggins edged Norway's third-place finisher Heidi Weng (r) by 0.06 seconds.

American Jessie Diggins (l) on the podium after placing second in the World Cup freestyle sprint on Saturday in Lahti, Finland, behind Norwegian winner Maiken Caspersen Falla (c). Diggins edged Norway’s third-place finisher Heidi Weng (r) by 0.06 seconds.

Second place for Jessie Diggins. Add that to the list. On Saturday, at the last World Cup in Europe before the Ski Tour Canada, the 24-year-old U.S. Ski Team member raced to her career best in a sprint and first appearance in the six-woman final since placing fourth in the Lahti freestyle sprint a year ago.

Back in Lahti, Finland on Saturday, Diggins finished second to Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla in the 1.6-kilometer freestyle sprint — her best result of the season after placing eighth in the freestyle sprint at the first stage of the Tour de Ski in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Diggins went on to win a stage at the Tour de Ski: the 5 k freestyle in Toblach, Italy, and placed third in the 10 k freestyle at another World Cup last month in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.

Jessie Diggins of the U.S. Ski Team (second from l) follows Sprint World Cup leader Maiken Caspersen Falla (l) and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (1), both of Norway, during the World Cup women's freestyle sprint final in Lahti, Finland, while skiing alongside another Norwegian Heidi Weng, and leading Hanna Falk of Sweden and Norway's Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (back, right). Diggins went on to place second behind Falla.

Jessie Diggins of the U.S. Ski Team (second from l) follows Sprint World Cup leader Maiken Caspersen Falla (l) and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (1), both of Norway, during the World Cup women’s freestyle sprint final in Lahti, Finland, while skiing alongside another Norwegian Heidi Weng (second from r), and leading Hanna Falk of Sweden and Norway’s Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (back, right). Diggins went on to place second behind Falla.

So you can say it’s been quite a run for Diggins. On Saturday, she qualified second behind Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, a serial qualifier winner, and advanced in second out of her quarterfinal (behind Falla), then third as a lucky loser out of her semifinal (behind Falla and Østberg, respectively).

In the final, Falla charged to the win in 3:33.81, while 0,25 seconds back, Diggins outlasted Norway’s Heidi Weng in a photo finish for second. The American took it, by 0.06 seconds, Weng placed third and Østberg finished fourth (+0.41) ahead of a fourth Norwegian in the final, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen in fifth (+2.27). Sweden’s Hanna Falk finished sixth (+18.4).

Also in the heats, Sadie Bjornsen qualified 12th and advanced to the semifinals in second (behind Falk) in her quarterfinal. Bjornsen went on to place fifth in the second semifinal, behind Weng, Jacobsen, Norway’s Therese Johaug, and Sweden’s Stina Nilsson, respectively, for 10th overall.

Sophie Caldwell finished 13th overall after qualifying sixth and finishing third in her quarterfinal. Ida Sargent placed 24th overall after qualifying 27th then taking fifth in the same quarterfinal as Bjornsen. Also for the U.S. women, Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) finished 35th and Jennie Bender (Bridger Ski Foundation) was 50th in the qualified.

Out of two U.S. men starting on Saturday, Simi Hamilton qualified 10th and went on to place 17th after finishing fourth in his quarterfinal, 0.6 seconds behind the winner — Petter Northug of Norway. Reese Hanneman (Alaska Pacific University) placed 49th on the day.

The fourth-fastest men’s qualifier, Norway’s Emil Iversen won his quarterfinal, semifinal and ultimately the final, beating out teammate Finn Hågen Krogh and Northug in second and third, respectively. Italy’s Federico Pellegrino placed fourth, and two more Norwegians Sindre Bjørnestad Skar and Eirik Brandsdal rounded out the final in fifth and sixth, respectively.

No Canadians competed.

Stay tuned for in-depth reports on the women’s and men’s races.

Results: Women | Men

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Golberg Wins Kuusamo Qualifying, Newell and Valjas Make Quarterfinals

Pål Golberg of Norway took the top qualifying time in the men’s 1.4 k classic sprint in Kuusamo, Finland, this morning, covering the course in 2:32.62. Teammate Sondre Turvoll Fossli was less than half a second behind to take the second-best qualifying time, with distance king Martin Johnsrud Sundby surprising in third (+2.21).

The Finns and Norwegians dominated qualifying, with Anssi Pentsinen qualifying in fourth. Emil Jönsson qualified for Sweden in 11th, +6.18.

Andy Newell of the U.S. Ski Team led the North American qualifiers in 12th (+6.44). He will be joined in the heats by Lenny Valjas of Canada (22nd, +8.32).


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Falla Wins Kuusamo Qualifier, 4 American Women into Heats

Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway edged her teammate Ingvild Flugstad Østberg by 0.62 seconds to take the fastest qualifying time in the classic sprint in Kuusamo, Finland, this morning. Falla covered the 1.4 k course in 2:59.42. Norway dominated the women’s qualifying, with Heidi Weng and Astrid Jacobsen took spots three and four. Stina Nilsson of Sweden was the fifth-fastest qualifier (+4.51).

Four Americans qualified for the quarterfinals, led by Sadie Bjornsen in 18th (+8.62). Sophie Caldwell, Jessie Diggins, and Ida Sargent qualified in 27th, 29th, and 30th.

Five other North Americans were left out of the heats: Rosie Brennan (USA, 42nd), Emily Nishikawa (CAN, 58th), Caitlin Gregg (USA, 81st), and Liz Stephen (USA, 84th).

The sprint is the first stage of the Ruka Triple 3-day mini tour. Some favorites kept their overall hopes for a win alive by making the heats, where they will collect more time bonuses: Charlotte Kalla of Sweden qualified in 11th, Therese Johaug of Norway in 15th, and Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland in 21st.


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Norway Sweeps Top 4 in Men’s, Women’s Drammen Sprints

Eirik Brandsdal and Maiken Caspersen Falla took wins for the home team at the Drammen sprints, the only city sprints to be held on the World Cup this season and the final sprint competitions of the year.

Norway’s Brandsdal edged teammates Finn Hågen Krogh and Ola Vigen Hattestad – who had won qualifying – in an exciting sprint finish in the 1.2 k classic final. Sondre Turvoll Fossli finished fourth, +5.31, and Sergey Ustyugov of Russia was fifth, the first non-Norwegian. His teammate Nikita Kruikov was relegated to last place in the final.

Andy Newell of the United States was the lone North American to reach the semifinals, but there finished sixth and did not make the final. Lenny Valjas of Canada qualified 19th and just missed the semis, finishing third in his quarterfinal heat.

The women’s final was also a show of Norwegian dominance, as Falla outsprinted teammate Heidi Weng for the win. Marit Bjørgen, who already has the overall World Cup title locked up, finished third, +1.51; Ingvild Flugstad Østberg made it four for Norway when she crossed the line +2.49. Stina Nilsson of Sweden and Katja Visnar of Slovenia finished fifth and sixth.

Sadie Bjornsen of the United States qualified in ninth, but was unable to advance to the semis out of a difficult quarterfinal which included both Falla and Østberg, as well as fifth-place qualifier Astrid Jacobsen of Norway.

Stay tuned for full reports of the day’s racing.

Results: men / women

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Sadie Bjornsen Qualifies Ninth, Valjas and Newell in the Heats in Drammen


In the final sprint of the season, Sadie Bjornsen of the U.S. Ski Team qualified ninth on Wednesday in Drammen, Norway. Her time was 5.22 seconds back from Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, the fastest woman on the 1.3-kilometer classic-sprint course in 3:01.25.

Bjornsen was the lone American female to advance to heats, as Sophie Caldwell finished 1.18 seconds outside the top 30 in 35th, 11.59 seconds behind Østberg. After reaching the podium in last weekend’s freestyle sprint in Lahti, Finland, Kikkan Randall finished 45th in the classic-sprint qualifier, 18.03 seconds behind the winner. Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) was 51st (+19.73).

No Canadian women competed.

In the men’s 1.3 k qualifier, Lenny Valjas was the lone Canadian to advance, clocking in 4.9 seconds behind Norway’s Ola Vigen Hattestad, the fastest male in 2:36.48. Teammate Alex Harvey missed qualifying in 33rd, 0.7 seconds out of the top 30 and 6.53 seconds behind Hattestad.

American Andy Newell qualified in 28th (+5.48). His teammates in Drammen, Erik Bjornsen was 38th (+7.16), Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess was 42nd (+7.75) and Simi Hamilton finished 65th after crashing (+13.56).

“I took a hard spill on the new tight downhill corner,” Hamilton explained in a text message. “My klister just stuck in my left ski as I was stepping the turn. It’s frustrating because I felt the best that I have all year, but such is racing I guess. Looking forward to training hard and skiing fast on the World Cup in the seasons to come.”

Heats start at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Results: Women | Men


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Falk, Edin Lead Lahti World Cup Sprint Qualifier; Diggins Fifth

Johan Edin posted the best time in Satruday’s 1.5 k freestyle sprint qualifier in Lahti, Finland. Crossing the line at 2:41.14, the Swede topped the field of 79 skiers at the first World Cup since the end of the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden. Norway’s Eirik Brandsdal placed second in the qualifier, just 0.19 seconds behind Edin. Third went to teammate Finn Hågen Krogh who was off pace by 1.44 seconds.

The U.S. Ski Team’s Andy Newell was the only North American to qualify of the heats, finishing 13th and 3.02 seconds behind Edin. Teammate Simi Hamilton narrowly missed qualification in 33rd. He was 0.32 seconds from the top 30.

Canada’s Len Valjas finished 48th while Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess and Erik Bjornsen finished 55th and 57th. Alex Harvey, Jesse Cockney, and Micheal Somppi placed 63rd, 68th, and 74th respectively.

Another Swede topped the qualification round in the women’s 1.5 k freestyle sprint, with Hanna Falk posting a time of 3:03.84. She was followed by Norwegians Ingvild Flugstad Østberg and Marit Bjørgen who finished 0.28 and 1.07 seconds back.

Two North Americans qualified for the heats with Jessie Diggins placing fifth, 2.60 seconds back from Falk. Kikkan Randall placed 28th to make the heats, trailing by 7.87 seconds. Sadie Bjornsen and Sophie Caldwell finished outside of qualification in 2nd and 34th place.

Canada’s Andrea Dupont and Ida Sargent finished 42nd and 43rd. Liz Stephen and Cendrine Browne finished 46th and 47th, while Caitlin Patterson, Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt, Heidi Widmer, and Dahria Beatty placed 51st, 56th, 58th, and 65th respectively.

The quarterfinals begin at 3:30 EET (8:30 EST).

Qualifier results: men | women

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Bjørgen Wins Again, Krogh Outlasts Harvey in Östersund Sprint

Marit Bjørgen of Norway expanded her overall lead in the women’s World Cup standings by winning Saturday’s 1.2-kilometer classic sprint in Östersund, Sweden.

After qualifying in seventh, Bjørgen comfortably won the final in a time of 2:46.82, 1.80 seconds ahead of teammate Maiken Caspersen Falla. Sweden’s Stina Nilsson placed third (+2.03) in front of a roaring home crowd.

A trio of Norwegians took up the other spots in the final. Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes placed fourth (+4.28) after qualifying in first to earn her best World Cup result of the season, while World Cup sprint leader Ingvild Flugstad Østberg was fifth (+6.51) and Celine Brun-Lie finished in sixth (+12.35).

Americans Sadie Bjornsen and Sophie Caldwell raced in the same heat after qualifying in 27th and 24th, respectively. Up against Nilsson and Bjørgen – who won the heat in 2:50.88 – Bjornsen took fourth (+4.53) and ended up 20th overall, while Caldwell was fifth (+5.57) and placed 22nd overall.

In the men’s race, Norway’s Finn Hågen Krogh held off Canada’s Alex Harvey to win the final in a time of 2:25.28. Harvey was just 0.47 seconds behind, and earned his best World Cup sprint result of the season. Norway’s Timo André Bakken took the final spot on the podium (+1.41).

Sondre Turvoll Fossli of Norway placed fourth (+4.27), Finland’s Matias Strandvall was fifth (+5.86), and Russia’s Alexander Panzhinskiy was sixth (+9.30).

World Cup sprint leader Federico Pellegrino of Italy failed to qualify for the final, taking fifth in his semifinal out of five skiers after crashing on the second lap while trying to move into a qualifying position.

American Simi Hamilton qualified in 12th and won his quarterfinal heat, but fell ascending a hill during the first lap of the second semifinal and took sixth, 6.33 seconds behind semifinal winner Fossli. He ended up placing 11th overall.

American Andy Newell finished 12th overall after qualifying in 17th and taking third in his quarterfinal heat, while Lenny Valjas of Canada qualified in 18th and also finished third in his semifinal, ending up 13th overall.

Results: Men | Women

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Öberg, Pellegrino Win Rybinsk Sprints, Diggins in Fifth

After a strong qualification round, Sweden’s Jennie Öberg skied dominantly through the heats to take the victory in the 1.3 k freestyle sprint in Rybinsk, Russia. The win was Öberg’s first, in addition to being her first podium and first sprint final on the World Cup circuit. Racing to a time of 3:02.54 in the final, Öberg bested Natalia Matveeva of Russia by 0.48 seconds. In third was Laurien van der Graff of Switzerland who was 0.76 seconds off pace.

The USST’s Jessie Diggins was the top North American in fifth after a strong showing in the heats. The result is her best of the year. Teammates Sophie Caldwell and Sadie Bjornsen advanced to the semifinals and ultimately finished seventh and eleventh. Ida Sargent placed 13th after earning third in her quarterfinal.

Federico Pellegrino of Italy continued his World Cup sprinting dominance in Rybinsk with a 0.69 second win over Sergey Ustiugov of Russia. Fellow Russian Andrey Parfenov placed third, 0.77 behind Pellegrino.

Three Americans raced in the quarterfinals, but none advanced to the semifinals. Simi Hamilton was the top finisher in 17th, while Andy Newell and Erik Bjornsen finished 22nd and 24th. Canada’s Alex Harvey finished 28th.

Results: Women | men

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Østberg Stays Ahead of Nilsson for 2nd World Cup Win in Otepää Classic Sprint

For Ingvild Flugstad Østberg on Saturday, there was mostly one woman threatening her quest for the win in the 1.2-kilometer classic sprint in Otepää, Estonia: Sweden’s Stina Nilsson.

Østberg topped the women’s qualifier by 0.24 seconds over Nilsson in 2:52.93. Then she won her quarterfinal ahead of Sweden’s Ida Ingemarsdotter and fellow Norwegian Kathrine Rolstead Harsem, respectively, both of which advanced to the semifinals with a fast-enough time.

Nilsson placed second in her quarterfinal to Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla, and was again second to Falla in their semifinal, after strategically letting up at the finish when she nearly caught Falla on the last descent.

Nilsson’s skis were fast enough, and she knew it. Østberg knew it, too, as she tried to keep her behind her in the finishing straight of the final.

Østberg did so, keeping seven or so meters ahead of the Swede to clinch her second-sprint victory of the season and fourth World Cup podium by 0.6 seconds in 3:20.18.

Two other Norwegians were in the final, with Celine Brun-Lie placing third (+2.29) and Falla finishing fourth (+3.67). Evgenia Shapovalova of Russia was fifth (+4.78), and Sweden’s Magdalena Pajala placed sixth (+5.99).

Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk qualified 12th but ended up 16th after placing fourth in her quarterfinal behind Falla, Nilsson and Shapovalova.

Sadie Bjornsen was the lone American woman to qualify for the heats, and was a victim of the slowest quarterfinal. While she came up from behind late to challenge for second, she lost the photo finish to Pajala, who was second to Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes in the fifth quarterfinal. Third in her heat, Bjornsen ended up 15th overall.

Also for the U.S., Sophie Caldwell missed qualifying by one place and 0.9 seconds in 31st, as did Rosie Brennan, who placed 38th, 2.8 seconds out of the top 30, in her first World Cup of the season (fresh off three wins at U.S. nationals). Ida Sargent crashed out of contention in the qualifier and finished 43rd.

For Canada, Alysson Marshall placed 44th in her first World Cup of the season.

Norway’s Marit Bjørgen, Therese Johaug and Heidi Weng, coming off the Tour de Ski, did not compete. American Kikkan Randall is also skipping this World Cup weekend (and the next) during a 16-day break at home in Anchorage, Alaska.


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Thomas Northug Breaks Away for 1st World Cup Win in Otepää

Without his older brother Petter Northug toeing the line and competing for attention on Saturday, Norway’s Thomas Northug made a name for himself with his first-career World Cup win in the men’s 1.5-kilometer classic sprint in Otepää, Estonia.

The 24-year-old Northug qualified seventh (4.4 seconds behind teammate Pål Golberg, the fastest qualifier in 3:17.61), and went on to place second in his quarterfinal and fourth in his semifinal, narrowly advancing to the final as a lucky loser with Golberg (who placed third).

Northug avoided a dramatic late crash in the semifinal from Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov, who poled between his own legs in the finishing straight and spun completely around, clipping Northug’s ski — who  was behind him — but Northug scooted around and outlunged Sweden’s Emil Jönsson for fourth.

In the men’s final, two of five Norwegians opted for skate skis on a slowing and chewed-up course. Northug wasn’t one of them and broke away on the first climb, putting nearly 40 meters into his competitors.

He looked back once, 200 meters before the finish, to make sure he was still in control and won the final by 1.57 seconds over teammate Ola Vigen Hattestad, who also stuck with classic skis on the herringbone course and locked up second. Hattestad outlunged Finland’s Toni Ketelae, who led the chase after Northug, in a photo finish. Ketelae placed third for his first World Cup top 10.

Golberg finished fourth (+6.28) and the two Norwegians at the back of the pack — Finn Hågen Krogh and Sondre Turvoll Fossli — placed fifth (+9.23) and sixth (+10.26) because of their skate-ski gamble.

Two American men qualified for the heats: Andy Newell in 21st and Simi Hamilton in 30th. Hamilton and Newell went on to place third and fourth in the first quarterfinal, respectively, 3.26 and 3.68 seconds behind Golberg as the winner and Hattestad, who was 0.3 seconds back in second.

Erik Bjornsen missed the top-30 qualifying cutoff in 57th, and for the Canadians, Lenny Valjas was 45th, Jess Cockney 61st and Patrick-Stewart Jones (Alberta World Cup Academy) 62nd in his first European World Cup.


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Bjørgen Wins Again, Pellegrino Gains Redemption in Davos Sprint

Marit Bjørgen of Norway continued her World Cup dominance by cruising to her second victory of the weekend in Sunday’s World Cup freestyle sprint in Davos, Switzerland.

Bjørgen, who earned her 84th career World Cup win, was the first qualifier and comfortably made it through her quarterfinal and semifinal heats before taking the women’s final in a time of 2:35.86, 0.55 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Stina Nilsson.

Norwegian Ingvild Øestberg finished in third (+1.12) after winning last week’s freestyle sprint, which was also in Davos. Charlotte Kalla (+2.31) and Hanna Falk (+5.30), both of Sweden, were fourth and fifth, while sixth place went to Switzerland’s Laurien Van der Graaff (+12.09).

Americans Kikkan Randall and Sophie Caldwell took ninth and 11th overall. Randall was ninth and Caldwell eighth after qualifying, but both finished well back in their semifinal heat, with Randall 11.78 seconds behind Øestberg after a fall and Caldwell 13.17 seconds behind. Fellow American Ida Sargent qualified in and finished 29th.

On the men’s side, Italy’s Federico Pellegrino had his first-ever World Cup victory, taking the final in 2:19.36 after finishing fourth in his semifinal heat. Alexey Petukhov (+0.24) of Russia took second, edging out Norway’s Finn Hågen Krogh (+0.26) in a photo finish.

Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson was fourth (+1.01), Sondre Turvoll Fossli of Norway was fifth (+1.43), and Emil Jönsson of Sweden was sixth (+11.02).

Lenny Valjas of Canada finished in 18th after qualifying in 12th to earn the top North American finish, while fellow Canadian Jesse Cockney placed 29th to garner his best individual World Cup result since 2012. The only American to qualify was Simeon Hamilton, who finished in 23rd after qualifying 14th.

Women’s Results | Men’s Results

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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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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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Bjørgen and Ustiugov on Top in Lillehammer Qualifier

Norway claimed the five top qualification spots in Friday’s freestyle sprint in Lillehammer, Norway. Not only that, 13 of the nation’s skiers placed in the top 30, meaning that anyone watching today’s sprint finals will be seeing a lot of red.

Marit Bjørgen won the women’s qualifier with a time of 2:57.5. She was followed by teammates Igvild Østberg (+2.08) and Maiken Falla (+2.62) in second and third. Rounding out the top five were fellow Norwegians Celine Brun-Lei and Heidi Weng. Germany’s Denise Hermann was the first non-Norwegian in sixth. She was followed by Norway’s Kathrine Harsem Sweden’s Hanna Falk, Slovenia’s Alenka Cebasek, and Finland’s Kista Parmakoski to round out the top ten.

American Sadie Bjornsen was the only North American to qualify in 16 position, +8.72. Following her were Canadians Perianne Jones in 33rd and Emily Nishikawa in 76th. For the rest of the Americans, Kikkan Randall finished in 43rd, Ida Sargent in 52nd, Jessie Diggins in 55th, Sophie Caldwell in 61st, Liz Stephen in 71st, and Caitlin Gregg in 78th.

For them men, it was Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov who came out on top Friday with a time of 3:14.99. He was followed by a mix of Norwegians and Russians in the top four including Fin Krogh of Norway, Alexay Petukhov of Russia, and Norway’s Petter Northug. Calle Halfvarsson of Sweden finished fifth.

Alex Harvey was the only North American to advance in 22nd, +6.26 back from Ustiugov.

Canadian Jessie Cockney finished in 33rd, American Andy Newell in 36th, Canadian Len Valjas in 45th, Americans Erik Bjornsen in 58th and Simi Hamilton in 59th. Rounding out the North American finishes were Devon Kershaw and Graeme Killick of Canada who placed 64th and 94th, and American Reese Hanneman in 99th.

Qualification results: Women | Men

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Østberg, Panzhinsky Top Kuusamo Sprint Qualification; Norway Dominant

Norway certainly made a statement in the qualifying round of the opening World Cup sprint in Kuusamo, Finland, this morning: in the 1.4 k classic competition, the Norwegian ladies swept the top six, and put another skier in ninth to give them seven of the top ten spots.

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg led the way with a time of 2:59.79, followed by teammates Celine Brun-Lie, Marit Bjørgen, Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes, Maiken Caspersen Falla, and Heidi Weng. Finland’s Mona-Liisa Malvalehto and Russia’s Natalia Matveeva snuck in before Norway’s Therese Johaug, and Anne Kylloenen of Finland rounded out the top ten. Times were spread – Kylloenen was more than nine seconds out of first place.

For the United States, Kikkan Randall qualified in 12th, Sadie Bjornsen in 19th, and Ida Sargent in 27th. Jessie Diggins and Canada’s Perianne Jones both missed the qualification cutoff.

In bad luck for USA, Randall and Bjornsen will have to face each other in the quarterfinal, as well as Brun-Lie and Johaug.

In the men’s qualifier, Alexander Panzhinsky of Russia broke up the Norwegian monopoly and bested Sondre Turvoll Fossli by 0.2 seconds. Norway still made their mark though: after Fossli, Pål Golberg and Timo André Bakken took spots three and four, and Eirik Brandsdal, Tomas Northug, and Finn Hågen Krogh placed sixth, eighth, and ninth. Matias Strandvall and Anssi Pentsinen slotted in with fifth and seventh, and Estonia’s Peeter Kummel rounded out the top ten.

Times were much closer than in the women’s race, with only 2.67 seconds separating the top ten.

Simi Hamilton led the way for the United States, qualifying in 16th place 4.02 seconds behind Pentsinen. He was just 0.11 seconds ahead of Alex Harvey, who qualified in 17th for Canada. Andy Newell also made the cut for USA, placing 24th.

Lenny Valjas (CAN) just missed quarterfinals, placing 39th. Also missing from the heats? Emil Jönsson (SWE), who finished 32nd, Dario Cologna (SUI) who placed 45th, and Alexey Poltoranin (KAZ) who was 46th.

Erik Bjornsen (USA) and Devon Kershaw (CAN) finished 56th and 57th. US SuperTour leader Reese Hanneman placed 67th.

women’s qualifier results / men’s qualifier results

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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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