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Wild Rumpus Sports

Iivo Niskanen Tops Kuusamo 15 k for 1st World Cup Podium

Not only did 22-year-old Iivo Niskanen score his first World Cup podium on Sunday, but he won the first World Cup distance race of the season, the 15-kilometer classic, at home Kuusamo, Finland.

Niskanen consistently skied some of the fastest splits of the day, with Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin putting the squeeze on for the first few kilometers of the race. Vylegzhanin later faded, finishing 11th overall, and it was Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby who ended up coming closest to Niskanen by the finish.

But 10.3 seconds back in second, Sundby wasn’t much of a threat. Niskanen jumped out of the leader’s chair and ran with his skis in hand down the finishing stretch to thank the crowd. He led two Finns on the podium, with Sami Jauhojärvi in third, 12.5 seconds behind Niskanen’s wining time of 35:09.4.

Norway’s Niklas Dyrhaug was bumped from the leader’s chair to fourth overall (+12.5), and Russia’s Alexander Bessmertnykh finished fifth (+19.7). Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson was sixth, Canada’s Alex Harvey seventh, Norway’s Simen Håkon Østensen eighth, Pål Golberg ninth, and Finland’s Matti Heikkinen 10th.

Vylegzhanin tied Norway’s Didrik Tønseth for 11th (+37.5).

The second Canadian in the top 15, Devon Kershaw placed 14th (+42.1).

North American results:

7. Alex Harvey (CAN)

14. Devon Kershaw (CAN)

52. Erik Bjornsen (USA)

57. Ivan Babikov (CAN)

69. Simi Hamilton (USA)

71. Graeme Killick (CAN)

82. Reese Hanneman (USA)

83. Andy Newell (USA)

Noah Hoffman DNF



Johaug Nabs First 10 k Classic Win in Kuusamo; Bjornsen 17th

It’s hard to believe Norway’s Therese Johaug had never won a World Cup 10-kilometer classic before, but she hadn’t — until Sunday. Johaug powered to a 42.2-second victory over teammate Marit Bjørgen (Saturday’s classic-sprint winner), rounding the course with the time to beat of 25:47.2. But nobody, not even Bjørgen who started after her, could touch it. Bjørgen bumped Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla to third, 44.1 seconds behind Johaug. Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk was off the podium in fourth (+1:03.4). An earlier starter, Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg hung tough in fifth (+1:13.2). Russia’s Yulia Tchekaleva was sixth, Finland’s Krista Parmakoski seventh, Norway’s Heidi Weng eighth, Austria’s Katerina Smutna ninth, and Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen 10th. Sadie Bjornsen led the Americans in 17th, and Emily Nishikawa represented Canada in 35th. North American results 17. Sadie Bjornsen (USA) 35. Emily Nishikawa (CAN) 39. Jessie Diggins (USA) 51. Ida Sargent (USA) 55. Liz Stephen (USA) 57. Kikkan Randall…

Bjørgen, Brandsdal Blow Past Competition in Kuusamo Opener; Sargent 5th

Norwegians Marit Bjørgen and Eirik Brandsdal used sprint-savvy and rocket skis to outlast their competitors on Saturday in the opening World Cup of the 2014/2015 season in Kuusamo, Finland. Bjørgen won the women’s 1.4-kilometer classic sprint and Brandsdal topped the men’s 1.4 k final for the double Norwegian win. Third in the qualifier after teammates Ingvild Flugstad Østberg and Celine Brun-Lie, respectively, Bjørgen timed her quarterfinal and semifinal to perfection with a win in each. She went on to surge past Østberg and Slovenia’s Katja Visnar after the final climb into the stadium and pulled off the victory in 2:58.33. Visnar was second, 0.46 seconds back, and Maiken Caspersen Falla came through in third, 1.7 behind Bjørgen. Østberg placed fourth (+3.02) and American Ida Sargent hung tough in fifth (+5.95) for a career best in the first World Cup race of the season. Russia’s Natalia Matveeva was sixth, 12.37 seconds after Bjørgen. In the men’s…

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…

Norway, Sweden Announce Kuusamo World-Cup Opener Teams

By Inge Scheve Rookie Barbro Kvåle’s sprint victory at the Beitostølen FIS season opener impressed the coaches to name her to the team for the World Cup opener in Finland this weekend, as did Timo Andre Bakken. “Timo Andre Bakken skied a solid qualifier and delivered a strong fifth place in the Sunday sprint,” Norwegian national-team director Åge Skinstad said in a press release Monday.  “He was one of the top racers on kick wax in a race where that was so heavy on double poling. But the courses in Ruka demand more than just double-pole power. “Furthermore, both Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes and Barbro Kvåle delivered in the sprint on Sunday and are rewarded with tickets to Finland,” he added. Timo Andre Bakken, Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes and Barbro Kvåle are not permanent members of the ski team. Norway’s Kuusmo Team  Women, Club, Notes Marit Bjørgen (Rognes IL) Therese Johaug (IL Nansen) 2013/2014 Overall…

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

Alex Harvey‘s had his share of World Cup podiums and even made history for Canada as the classic-sprint bronze medalist at World Championships last year. But the men’s 30-kilometer skiathlon on Saturday was different: this was World Cup Finals, this was Harvey’s run for an overall World Cup podium on the line. The Canadian remained in the top four throughout the entire race, following Sweden’s Daniel Richardsson, Russia’s Alexander Legkov, and Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby — who’s essentially locked up the overall World Cup title — throughout much of the classic portion. After the transition to skating, Harvey started to take control, leading the group throughout much of the next 15 k while Richardsson gradually fell out of contact. With Harvey, Legkov and Sundby pushing into one final 180-degree turn at the top of a climb, the Russian took the inside lane and Harvey seemed to be moving in slow…

Johaug Holds onto World Cup Overall with Gritty Skiathlon Win; Bjørgen 33 Seconds Back in 2nd

Not today Marit! That’s what Marit Bjørgen‘s Norwegian teammate, Therese Johaug, might very well have been thinking Saturday as she sped away to a sizable victory in the women’s 15-kilometer skiathlon — the penultimate race of World Cup Finals in Falun, Sweden. After Bjørgen came within three seconds of her at the top of the overall World Cup standings, Johaug had to do one thing on Sunday: win. The bigger the gap, the better. Bjørgen, who won Friday’s classic sprint but finished second to Johaug by 33.6 seconds on Saturday, will have to make up that time gap on her teammate to take the overall World Cup crown. Johaug continued to gap her competition in the skate portion of the skiathlon, leading Bjørgen by 15 seconds at 9 k, then 23 seconds just over 2 k later. With fewer than three kilometers remaining, Johaug had at least 30 seconds separating…

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…

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…

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…