GALLIVARE, Sweden – Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway is no slouch – he’s a World Championship medalist, after all. But generally considered a classic specialist, Sundby was still a surprise to see atop the results sheet in today’s opening 15 k skate race. The Norwegian took an eight-second win over Alexey Poltoranin of Kazakhstan. Marcus Hellner couldn’t quite harness his home field advantage to take the win, but he did place third, less than three seconds behind Poltoranin, which is a major improvement over his performance in FIS racing in Bruksvallarna last week.
Ivan Babikov (CAN) led the North American contingent with a 14th-place finish. Teammates Alex Harvey placed 36th and Devon Kershaw 44th, while NorAm leader Kevin Sandau clocked in at 64th. Kris Freeman (USA) just missed the points in 33rd, with Noah Hoffman close behind in 38th. Tad Elliott and Simi Hamilton placed 59th and 63rd, and SuperTour leader Sylvan Ellefson wrapped things up in 76th.