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Ninth Tour de Ski a ‘Go’, Completely Reliant on Manmade Snow

The ninth edition of the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) Tour de Ski will go ahead as planned from Jan. 3-11, according to a FIS press release on Thursday. The decision was based on the latest weather forecasts and “thorough discussions” with local organizing committees, namely the German Ski Association, Swiss Ski and Italian Winter Sport Federation.

“Until today [Thursday], mild weather has allowed only limited snow production in Obertsdorf,” the release stated of the first Tour stop in Germany. “However, the temperatures are expected to drop below zero already during the upcoming weekend.”

The Oberstdorf organizing committee planned to utilize “all available snow production resources” in order to prepare its courses for next week.

In Switzerland, the organizing committee in Val Müstair is “almost finished with the sprint course,” FIS stated.

The third venue in Toblach, Italy, currently has snow for a 2.5-kilometer loop, and more will be produced for a 5 k course.

Finally, the local OC in Val di Fiemme, Italy, has been producing snow over the last several days to prepare a 2.5 k course in advance of Jan. 10-11, and is working on connecting its cross-country stadium to the Alpe Cermis, site of the final climb. “Alpe Cermis, course of the Final Climb is covered with snow,” FIS wrote.

According to the Val di Fiemme OC, the final climb will be ready by the end of December.

“Long-awaited snowfalls due in the next hours,” it stated in a press release on Thursday. “The [2.5 k]-long track in the XC Stadium almost ready.”

“FIS Tour de Ski, what a challenge, for organisers as for world’s best cross country skiers,” the  release continued. “Not much snow has fallen so far across the Alps and the four ski resorts where the World Cup series is about to take place are all strongly engaged in the production of snow.”

It explained that the Italian OC, led by Bruno Felicetti, “has been working extremely hard and struggled against the warm weather in the past weeks.” With cold-enough temperatures, the cross-country stadium can produce 30,000 cubic meters (24.3 acres) of manmade snow with 18 snowmaking machines, while the 9 k climb up Alpe Cermis can be covered with 29 snow cannons.

“The Mass Start event will not let anyone down including the skiers, assured the Fiemme team,” the release continued. “Male athletes will face 6 laps while women will run 4 of [2.5 k] each. The production of snow won’t stop from now onwards despite the fact that some good snowfalls are due in northern Italy in the next couple of days.

“In the meantime, the 9k-long Final Climb track on the Alpe Cermis is also being whitened … Part of the Marcialonga track – from the XC Stadium to the beginning of the climb – is also under the…snow bombs, and both the Tour de Ski final days, 10 and 11 January, are definitely not in danger.”

The OC also learned it has been granted rights to host the Tour’s final stages until 2019.

2015 Tour de Ski schedule

Jan. 3 (Saturday) in Obertsdorf: 3/4 k freestyle prologue prologue

Jan. 4 (Sunday) in Obertsdorf: 10/15 k classic pursuit

Jan. 6 (Tuesday) in Val Müstair: freestyle sprint

Jan. 7 (Wednesday) in Toblach: 5/10 k classic

Jan. 8 (Thursday) in Toblach: 15/35 k freestyle pursuit

Jan. 10 (Saturday) in Val di Fiemme: 10/15 k classic

Jan. 11 (Sunday) in Val di Fiemme: 9 k freestyle pursuit (final climb)

Tour de Ski Is A Go

After doubts, the FIS Tour de Ski appears to be a go starting on January 3. The International Ski Federation announced in a press release earlier today:

“After thorough discussions with Local Organising Committees and having taken in consideration the last weather forecasts, the international Ski Federation (FIS), German Ski Association, Swiss Ski, and Italian Winter Sport Federation are happy to confirm that the 9th edition of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear will be carried out as planned from 3rd – 11th January 2015.

    • Until today mild weather has allowed only limited snow production in Oberstdorf, (GER). However, the temperatures are expected to drop below zero already during the upcoming weekend. The LOC of Oberstdorf will utilise all available snow production resources to prepare the competition courses for the next week.
    • Swiss organiser of Val Müstair, (SUI) is almost finished with the sprint course.
    • Toblach, (ITA) has already snow for a 2.5 km loop. More snow for the 5.0 km course will be produced in the next days.
    • Organisers of the final Tour de Ski stages in Val di Fiemme, (ITA) have been already  producing snow in the last days and will prepare a 2.5 km course.
    • Alpe Cermis, course of the Final Climb is covered with snow.
    • The LOC of Val di Fiemme is working on the connection from the Lago di Tesero Cross-Country stadium to Alpe Cermis.”

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

Bjørgen, Gløersen Win World Cup Distance Races in Davos

In the second week of World Cup racing in Davos, Switzerland, Marit Bjørgen won the 10 k freestyle with relative ease. Cruising to a time of 24:57.4 the Norwegian earned yet another victory this season to extend her lead in the World Cup standings. Following Bjørgen to the podium was Nicole Fessel (+19.9) of Germany. The second place finish was her third World Cup podium. In third was Norwegian Heidi Weng (+26.7).

The women’s top ten had more international representation than in previous weeks, with four nations (Norway, Sweden, Germany, and Finland) having at least two members from each country.

Liz Stephen (+1:00.8) finished her day with a season-best 12th, while teammates Jessie Diggins (+1:30.2) and Sadie Bjornsen (+1:35.5) also placed in the points in 27th and 29th positions. Canada’s Emily Nishikawa finished 49th and American Caitlin Gregg finished 54th (of 55 skiers.)

In the men’s race, Anders Gløersen of Norway skied a dominant race to win the 15 k freestyle with a time of 34:27.9. It was the Norwegian’s first distance victory on the Wolrd Cup. Teammates Petter Northug (+4.8) and Chris Andre Jespersen (+10.4) completed the podium for another Norwegian sweep.

Canadian Ivan Babikow was the first North American, finishing 34th and +1:18.4 back from Gløersen. Following Babikov were Alex Harvey in 38th, Devon Kershaw in 52nd, Graeme Killick in 54th, Erik Bjornsen in 56th, and Kevin Sandau in 70th.

Results: Women | Men

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

Sundby Bumps Tønseth by 6.6 Seconds for Davos 15 k Classic Win

Didrik Tønseth probably felt pretty good about himself after bumping Switzerland’s Dario Cologna from the leader’s chair on Saturday in the 15-kilometer classic individual start at the Davos World Cup. He might not have been the Swiss fans’ favorite at the time, but it was quite a feat to top Cologna by 0.7 seconds.

At the same time, Tønseth probably knew what was coming — his Norwegian teammate Martin Johnsrud Sundby, who ended up topping him by 6.6 seconds for his sixth individual World Cup win in 39:39.7.

My plan was to ski 3 even laps. I tried to keep the same pace,” Tønseth told FIS after the race. “I thought that the course here would not fit me because I like steeper uphills. Last year I also started last season strong, but after the Christmas it was not good. I hope I can keep the good shape until the World Championships in Falun.”

Sundby said he wasn’t sure whether to race on classic or double pole on skate skis, like Cologna did. Cologna was the only one in the field to do so, and ended up on the podium, 7.3 seconds behind Sundby.

I expected that last 5 km to be really hard if I went double poling,” Sundby told FIS. “After 10 km when I heard that Dario had a big lead I thought I made a wrong choice.”

But he hadn’t. Not only did Sundby beat Tønseth and Cologna, he completed the three-lap course faster than his teammate Sjur Røthe, who ended up fourth (+16.4) and Sweden’s Daniel Richardsson in fifth (+22.9).

I am very happy to finish on the podium,” Cologna told FIS. “My first races at the beginning of the season were not good. I decided to go double poling. It was a right choice for me. I had a good speed until the end.”

An early leader, Norway’s Petter Northug finished 10th (+54.9).

Alex Harvey led the Canadians in 17th (+1:05.8), Devon Kershaw was 32nd (+1:45.5), Graeme Killick placed 41st (+2:08), and Kevin Sandau was 70th (+4:07.4) in his first World Cup of the season.

Erik Bjornsen placed 48th (+2:31) for the U.S., and Reese Hanneman was 79th (+5:36.4) of 83 men.

Results

Johaug Destroys Field in Davos 10 k Classic, Bjørgen 42 Seconds Back

Therese Johaug did it again, beating Norwegian teammate Marit Bjørgen by more than 42 seconds — 42.5 to be exact — in the women’s World Cup 10-kilometer classic individual start on Saturday in Davos, Switzerland.

Johaug started a minute ahead of Bjørgen and consistently posted the fastest times through each passing checkpoint on the two-lap course. At 2 k, Bjørgen was just over a second back in second, and by 5 k, she was 11 seconds down to Johaug. That gap grew to 20 seconds by 7.8 k, and over the last two kilometers, Johaug hammered for the win in 28:30.8.

Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen placed third, 58.5 seconds behind Johaug, and Sweden’s Anna Haag was 8.6 seconds off the podium in fourth. Sweden took fifth as well with Sofia Bleckur (+1:16.4), Norway’s Heidi Weng was sixth (+1:21), and Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk finished 0.7 seconds after Weng in seventh. Finland’s Anne Kyllönen was eighth, Sweden’s Sofia Henriksson ninth, and Finland’s Laura Mononen 10th.

Liz Stephen led the U.S. in 20th for her best result of the season so far, finishing 2:04 behind Johaug.

The Americans took 20th, 21st and 22nd, all within 5.5 seconds of one another, with Jessie Diggins in 21st (+2:08.8) and Sadie Bjornsen in 22nd (+2:09.5).

Canada’s Emily Nishikawa landed in the points for the first time in her World Cup career with a personal-best 29th (+2:31.9).

Ida Sargent (USA) was 47th (+3:19.3) and Caitlin Gregg (USA) 56th (+4:31.3) out of 58 finishers.

Results

La Clusaz World Cup Canceled, Search For Replacement Ongoing

The FIS Cross Country World Cup competitions scheduled for December 20th and 21st in La Clusaz, France, have been canceled due to lack of snow. FIS released a statement saying that they are searching for another venue to host the weekend of racing, and will issue a decision by the end of the workday on Saturday, December 13th.

Like most of central Europe, French ski resorts are generally struggling to hold snow and open trails. The Southern Alps have the most snow.

Bjørgen, Sundby Earn Lillehammer Mini Tour Titles After 10/15 k Pursuit

Martin Sundby of Norway executed what appeared to be a flawless plan in Sunday’s 15 k classic pursuit in Lillehammer, Norway. Starting with a 20-second deficit on fellow Norwegian Finn Krogh, Sundby held back in the first lap of the race. Making his move, the 2014 Overall World Cup Champion caught Krogh and ultimately passed him to win the final stage of the Lillehammer World Cup mini tour with a time of 39:48.2.

Krogh who attempted to stay with Sundby for much of the last two thirds of the race, finished second (+16.6). Three more Norwegians claimed third through fifth with Sjur Røthe (+36.5), Pål Golberg (+37.5), and Dedrik Tønseth (+43.7) finishing within 10 seconds of each other. Tønseth earned the fastest time of the day.

Canadian Alex Harvey was the top North American finisher in 10th, with teammate Ivan Babikov placing 29th after both skiers clocked the seventh and 10th fastest times of the day.

American Erik Bjornsen started in 53rd and ended in 39th.

In the women’s race, it was yet another battle between Norwegians Marit Bjørgen and Therese Johaug for the top spot. This time it was Bjørgen who won with a time of 28:19.7. Johaug was jut 0.6 seconds back to place second while teammate Heidi Weng  finished third, 12.3 second back.

Sadie Bjornsen was the first North American woman across the line in 18th after starting the day in 17th. Teammate Liz Stephen finished 29th.

Men’s 15 k pursuit results | Women’s 10 k pursuit results

Norway Sweeps Podium in Lillehammer 10 k freestyle

Martin Sundby demonstrated that he’s in the hunt for his second World Cup overall title with a win in Saturday’s 10 k freestyle individual start in Lillehammer, Norway.

With a time of 22:55.8 Sundby finished ahead of teammates Finn Krogh (+2.2) and Sjur Rothe (+6.4) to make it a Norwegian sweep on the podium.

Alex Harvey was the first North American in 33rd and finished 54.6 seconds back from Sundby. Teammates Ivan Babikov, Len Valjas, and Devon Kershaw followed in 43rd, 57th and 58th positions. Other Canadians who raced Saturday were Jessie Cockney in 77th and Graeme Killick in 94th.

Erik Bornsen was the top US men’s finisher, placing 51st and finishing 1:13.2 back from the lead. Simi Hamilton, Andy Newell, and Reese Hanneman trailed their teammate, placing 74th, 103rd, and 108th.

Saturday’s race marks the second of three races in the Lillehammer World Cup mini tour. After yesterday’s sprint and today’s 10 k, Krough sits atop the standings with a time of 25:50.3. He’s followed by Sundby (+20.3) and Paal Golberg (+26.6). Harvey is currently sitting in 11th position overall.

10 k results | standings

Johaug Bests Bjørgen by 0.3 Seconds; Norway Takes 6 of Top 7

Therese Johaug pulled out a 0.3-second win over Norwegian teammate Marit Bjørgen on Saturday in the second day of the Lillehammer World Cup mini tour in Norway. Johaug posted the winning time of 12:33.7, and another, Norwegian Heidi Weng, was 10.9 seconds back in third for the second-straight day to put her in second behind Bjørgen in the mini-tour standings.

Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla missed the podium by just 0.4 seconds in fourth on Saturday, and Norway occupied six of the top seven.

While Weng currently trails Bjørgen by 19.9 seconds, Johaug improved from 14th to third, 32.1 seconds off the lead heading into Sunday’s final 10 k classic pursuit. Johaug won last week’s 10 k classic by 42 seconds over Bjørgen.

“It was very close between me and Marit,” Johaug told FIS after Saturday’s 5 k. “I was nervous sitting in the leader’s chair. Last weekend I had one of my best performances in my career but it will be difficult to repeat it.”

Jessie Diggins led the Americans in 15th on Saturday, moving from 55th to 21st overall. Sadie Bjornsen placed 20th to put herself in 17th, and Liz Stephen finished 22nd to improve to 35th (from 71st) for the U.S.

Caitlin Gregg (USA) placed 62nd in the 5 k, and Kikkan Randall (USA) was another three seconds back in 63rd. For Canada, Emily Nishikawa placed 67th, and Perianne Jones was 71st. Ida Sargent (USA) finished 79th, and Sophie Caldwell (USA) was 84th.

Top 10

  1. Therese Johaug (NOR) 12:33.7
  2. Marit Bjørgen (NOR) +0.3
  3. Heidi Weng (NOR) +10.9
  4. Charlotte Kalla (SWE) +11.3
  5. Ragnhild Haga (NOR) +22.7
  6. Martin Ek Hagen (NOR) +24.9
  7. Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) +30.5
  8. Yulia Tchekaleva (RUS) +31.1
  9. Ida Ingemarsdotter (SWE) +33.0
  10. Petra Novakova (CZE) +34.0

Results: Women’s 5 k | Through Stage 2

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

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

Davos Word Cup Set to Continue with Shorter Distances

Although there may be limited snow, the World Cup in Davos, Switzerland will still take place Dec. 13-14. The weekend’s races will begin Saturday with a 10/15 k classic, which was originally scheduled as a 15/30 k. Sunday’s sprints will continue as scheduled. Check out an FIS press release regarding the changes to the event below.

(press release)

Swiss Ski together with the International Ski Federation (FIS) has confirmed that the FIS Cross-Country World Cup in Davos will take place as planned with the following changes:

  • Due to lack of snow the competition distance on Saturday, 13th December has been changed to ladies’ 10 km C and men’s 15 km C interval start
  • A 5 km loop will be prepared by the LOC
  • The starting time of the men’s 15 km C has changed to 14:30 CET
  • Start of the ladies 10 km C remains unchanged at 11:15 CET
  • Competition program and starting time for Sunday’s sprint classic remains unchanged

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

Results

 

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

Johaug celebrates her definitive 10 k classic win at the second race of the 2014/2015 World Cup season on Saturday in Kuusamo, Finland.

Johaug celebrates her definitive 10 k classic win at the second race of the 2014/2015 World Cup season on Saturday in Kuusamo, Finland.

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 (USA)

 

Results | with Splits

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 race, Brandsdal qualified sixth behind Russia’s Alexander Panzhinskiy, Sondre Turvoll Fossli (Norway), Pal Golberg (Norway), Timo Andre Bakken (Norway), and Matias Strandvall (Finland), respectively.

Brandsdal, who was third in last year’s Kuusamo classic sprint after Russian Nikita Kriukov and Norwegian Petter Nothug, respectively, went on to win his quarterfinal and semifinal on Saturday. With three Norwegians leading into the final climb, he held off Northug and Fossli into the finish for the overall victory in 2:34.84. Northug, who passed Fossli on that climb, placed second for the second-straight year 0.47 seconds back, and Fossli finished third (+1.18) just ahead of another Norwegian, Finn Hagen Krogh (+1.69) in fourth.

Russia’s Alexey Petukhov placed fifth (+4.54) and Sergey Ustiugov faded after a strong charge for first to finish sixth (+14.63).

Women’s results

Men’s results

North American results:

Women’s 1.4 k classic sprint

5. Ida Sargent (USA)

16. Kikkan Randall (USA): 4th in quarterfinal

29. Sadie Bjornsen (USA): 6th in quarterfinal

48. Perianne Jones (CAN)

64. Jessie Diggins (USA)

 

Men’s 1.4 k classic sprint

14. Alex Harvey (CAN): 3rd in quarterfinal

26. Simi Hamilton (USA): 6th in quarterfinal

28. Andy Newell (USA): 6th in quarterfinal

49. Lenny Valjas (CAN)

56. Erik Bjornsen (USA)

57. Devon Kershaw (CAN)

67. Reese Hanneman (USA)

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

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

  1. Marit Bjørgen (Rognes IL)
  2. Therese Johaug (IL Nansen) 2013/2014 Overall World Cup winner = automatic start
  3. Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes (Henning Skilag)
  4. Heidi Weng  (IL i BUL)
  5. Celine Brun-Lie (Njård)
  6. Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (Gjøvik Skiklubb)
  7. Marthe Kristoffersen (IL Varden)
  8. Maiken Caspersen Falla (Gjerdum IL)
  9. Martine EK Hagen (BUL)
  10. Kathrine Harsem (IL Varden) Continental Cup winner = automatic start
  11. Barbro Kvåle (Lillehammer Skiklubb)

Men, Club, Notes

  1. Eirik Brandsdal  (Kjelsås IL)
  2. Ola Vigen Hattestad( Ørje IL)  2013/2014 Sprint World Cup winner = automatic start
  3. Pål Golberg  (Gol IL)
  4. Finn Hågen Krogh  (Tverrelvdalen IL)
  5. Timo Andre Bakken (Konnerud IL /Team Jobzone)
  6. Eldar Rønning (Skogn IL)
  7. Sondre Turvoll Fossli (Hokksund IL)
  8. Petter Northug (Strindheim IL)
  9. Tomas Northug (Strindheim IL)
  10. Martin Johnsrud Sundby (Røa IL) 2013/2014 Overall World Cup winner = automatic start
  11. Petter Eliassen (Tverrelvdalen IL)
  12. Sjur Røthe (Voss IL)
  13. Chris Jespersen (IL Korlevoll – Odda)
  14. Didrik Tønseth (Byåsen IL)
  15. Simen Håkon Østensen (Fossum IF) Continental Cup winner = automatic start

Swedish Names Kuusamo Picks

The Swedish team that will race the World Cup opener in Finland this weekend includes two rookies: Maja Dahlqvist and Sofia Henriksson, both 20, who impressed coaches at the Swedish FIS season opener in Bruksvallarna this weekend and have been rewarded with the opportunity to race at the highest level next Saturday and Sunday.

“During the weekend races in Bruksvallarna, both of the girls who helped Sweden to relay gold at the Junior World Championships last winter impressed,” Swedish national team head coach Rikard Grip told Laengd.se after the team was announced Monday afternoon. “It was great to Sofia in the 5 K classic race and Maja in the classic sprint. Now we want to give them the opportunity to bag some international experience.”

Grip expects tough races as the World Cup gets underway with classic sprints on Saturday and 10/15 k classic distance races on Sunday in Kuusamo (Ruka).

Sweden’s Starting Lineup

Women’s sprint

  1. Maja Dahlqvist (Falun-Borlänge SK)
  2. Hanna Falk (Ulricehamns IF)
  3. Ida Ingemarsdotter (Åsarna IK)
  4. Lina Korsgren (Falun-Borlänge SK)
  5. Magdalena Pajala (Piteå Elit)
  6. Evelina Settlin (Hudiksvalls IF)

Women’s 10 k classic 

  1. Sofia Bleckur (IFK Mora SK)
  2. Anna Haag (IFK Mora SK)
  3. Sofia Henriksson (Piteå Elit)
  4. Sara Lindborg (Falun-Borlänge SK)
  5. Charlotte Kalla (Piteå Elit)
  6. Emma Wikén (Åsarna IK)

Men’s sprint

 

  1. Johan Edin (IFK Mora SK)
  2. Calle Halfvarsson (Falun-Borlänge SK)
  3. Emil Jönsson (IFK Mora SK)
  4. Teodor Peterson (IFK Umeå)
  5. Carl Quicklund (Östersunds SK)
  6. Simon Persson (IFK Umeå)

Men 15 k classic 

  1. Calle Halfvarson (Falun-Borlänge SK)
  2. Marcus Hellner (Gellivare Skidallians)
  3. Martin Johansson (IFK Mora SK)
  4. Jesper Modin (Piteå Elit)
  5. Lars Nelson (Åsarna IK)
  6. Daniel Richardsson (Hudiksvalls IF)

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 motion — all part of his strategy. Harvey carefully followed Legkov and Sundby down into the stadium, catching their draft then threading the needle between them to move to second ahead of Legkov, who collided with Harvey and broke a pole.

While Sundby tried to outsprint Harvey, Legkov fell behind and came to grips with third. Harvey nipped Sundby by 0.4 seconds in 1:18.07.6, and Legkov finished 5.9 seconds back in third.

Yelling exuberantly at the finish, Harvey was soon congratulated by his teammate, Devon Kershaw, who placed 12th for his third-best individual result of the season.

Harvey improved to fourth in the overall World Cup standings, behind Sundby, Legkov and Norway’s Chris Andre Jespersen, respectively, with one race to go. He is 133 points behind Jespersen for an overall World Cup podium, and will start Sunday’s 15 k freestyle pursuit first (with the potential to win 200 World Cup points with a victory).

Richardsson took fourth in the skiathlon (+24.7), and Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin led the chase pack to the finish in fifth (+53.9). He beat Norway’s Eldar Rønning, who did much of the work to try to chase the four leaders throughout the race, by 0.8 seconds.

Noah Hoffman led the Americans in 18th, Ivan Babikov was 23rd for Canada. Also for the U.S., Reese Hanneman placed 38th, his second-best individual World Cup result after Friday’s 31st, and Andy Newell was 39th.

Results