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Posts Tagged ‘Finland’

Norway Runs Away with Women’s Relay; U.S. Fights for Third

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Just over a year after placing third in Gallivare, Sweden, for a historic World Cup podium, the U.S. women repeated the feat in Sunday’s 4 x 5-kilometer relay at the World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway — with Jessie Diggins (US Ski Team) using every last ounce of her energy to hold onto third.

Marit Bjørgen capped off a commanding performance for Norway, which won in 58:38.9 with scrambler Heidi Weng, an aggressive second leg by Therese Johaug, and Kristin Stormer Steira. A minute and 15 seconds back, Krista Lahteenmaki anchored Finland to second. After Liz Stephen tagged the USA’s first team (they started two) in third, 15 seconds behind Finland, Diggins made a run for second and caught Lahteenmaki about two kilometers in. Bjørgen started the final leg with a 35-second lead and stayed smooth in sloppy, snowy conditions for a comfortable win.

With Lahteenmaki and Diggins skiing together for the rest of the race, the Finn skied away after the last big climb and final descent into the stadium. Diggins crashed, broke a pole but quickly got a replacement from the Norwegian team and held onto third, finishing 23.4 seconds after Lahteenmaki and nearly 11 seconds ahead of Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR II).

After Russia in fifth, Sweden in sixth, Norway III in seventh, Germany in eighth, Russia II in ninth, France in 10th and Poland in 11th, the USA’s second team of Sophie Caldwell, Ida Sargent, Holly Brooks, and Rosie Brennan placed 12th (+3:20.5).


Legkov Outdoes Northug in Kuusamo 10 k Individual Skate

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

He might’ve waited 65-plus bibs for the end result, but it was all worth it for Alexander Legkov of Russia, who posted the fastest time in Saturday’s 10 k individual freestyle to beat Norway’s Petter Northug by 6.8 seconds. Legkov clocked in at 21:52.8, Northug was second and Maurice Manificat of France was third (+7.9).

An early leader, Sjur Roethe (NOR) had to settle for fourth (+12.4) ahead of David Hofer (ITA) in fifth (+15.5). Dario Cologna of Switzerland wasn’t exactly at the top of his game, finishing eighth (+19.3).

The top North American, Canadian Alex Harvey tied Russia’s Eveniy Below for 17th (+35.7). Noah Hoffman (USA) was 19th (+38.1),  and Ivan Babikov (CAN) tied Italy’s Roland Clara for 23rd (+45.7). Devon Kershaw (CAN) was 35th just ahead of Kris Freeman (USA) in 36th.

Other North American results: 69. Tad Elliott (USA), 75. Kevin Sandau (CAN), 81. Lenny Valjas (CAN), 82. Simi Hamilton (USA), 88. Sylvan Ellefson (USA), 91. Andy Newell (USA)

Men’s results


Bjørgen, Randall Go 1-2 in Kuusamo 5 k Skate

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Marit Bjørgen of Norway tallied her second win of the Ruka Triple mini tour on Saturday, winning the women’s 5 k freestyle individual start in 12:02.9. Kikkan Randall (USA) rallied from a top-10 yesterday to the podium in second, 22.7 seconds back.

Yulia Tchekaleva (RUS) was third (+24.5), Therese Johaug (NOR) placed fourth (+27.6) and Heidi Weng (NOR) took fifth (+28.7). The Norwegians also swept sixth through eighth, and Jessie Diggins was the second-fastest American in 12th (+46.2), followed by teammate Liz Stephen in 13th (+47.1). Holly Brooks (USA) also made the top 20 in 18th (+53.7).

Other North American results: 40. Dasha Gaiazova (+1:16.9), 49. Ida Sargent (+1:24.9), 64. Chandra Crawford (+1:39.2), 81. Alysson Marshall (+1:54)

Women’s results

Finland’s Aino-Kaisa Saarinen to Train in U.S.

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

The guessing game is over. It looks like Finland’s Aino-Kaisa Saarinen will be the guest of honor at the North American women’s camp in Anchorage, Alaska, later this month.

Kikkan Randall made the announcement via Twitter on Tuesday: “Roller ski intervals in the rain with @jessdiggs this am and now picking up Aino-Kaisa Saarinen for a lot of sweet training coming up!”

A recent FasterSkier article about U.S. Ski Team camps referenced the inclusion of  “an unnamed European guest” at the USST/Canadian national team camp on Eagle Glacier from June 18-July 1.

Saarinen, 33, has won multiple world championships and three bronze medals over two Olympics. Last year, she led Finland’s relay to second and third place on the World Cup.

May 23 Roundup: Russia Bans Alcohol Among its Olympians; Finland Bids for 2017

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

– Russia is putting its foot down when it comes to drinking. A translated article on reported that the Russian government has gone to great lengths to make sure its athletes don’t consume alcohol at the London Olympics this summer. Furthermore, they don’t want the houses of hospitality to allow Russian sports stars to party at home in Sochi at the 2014 Winter Games.

For starters, the government has forbidden members of the official delegation of Russia to drink alcohol in London and banned organizers at four Russian hospitality houses from involving its athletes in alcohol-related activities. Corporate clients and sponsors won’t have to abide by the same rules.

“Sometimes there are sponsors that require athletes to abide scrupulously by their terms, including the parties to attend the alcohol,” one source said.

According to the article, the Russian authorities are taking such steps after its athletes didn’t meet national standards in 2010 in Vancouver. They won 15 medals of an anticipated 30 to 50. At the Games’ conclusion, Vladimir Putin said there would be some changes.

– Finland wants the 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. According to the Helsingin Sanomat, the Finnish cities of Lahti and Helsinki are applying jointly to host the event in 2017 after Lahti missed out on hosting in 2015 by one vote to Falun, Sweden. The Helsinki Olympic Stadium is getting a facelift over the next few years and hopeful organizers have already mapped out a sprint course that meets necessary standards.

“With no additional construction work, the sprint events would have a 50,000-seat stadium at their disposal,” said City of Helsinki Sports Director Anssi Rauramo. “If we are awarded the games, we will start to develop the idea in all earnest.”

Finland is up against bids from Planica in Slovenia, Zakopane in Poland, and Oberstdorf in Germany. The International Ski Federation (FIS) will decide who gets the 2017 worlds when it meets in South Korea on May 31.


Lallukka Hires Contador’s Assistant, Denies Doping

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

A day after Juha Lalluka’s manager publicly denied that the Finnish cross-country skier was guilty of doping, Lalluka took another step in his defense, hiring the expert who assisted 2010 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.

In Sept. 2010, Dutch doping expert Douwe de Boer insisted Contador accidentally ingested Clenbuterol by eating contaminated meat. Contador’s verdict is expected in early 2012.

Lalluka recently tested positive for a different banned substance, human growth hormone, and speculations have risen over his surprising eighth place in the 50 k freestyle at last year’s World Championships. He is still considered innocent until the results of his B-sample are released.

According to the Associated Press, Estonian skier Andrus Veerpalu sought Boer’s assistance earlier this year after testing positive for HGH.

On Tuesday, Lallukka’s manager, Juha Vanhanen, told MTV3 that Lalluka denied the doping violation and blamed the positive A-sample on his higher-than-normal hormone production, which he said was hereditary.

Nov. 2 Roundup: Inari Races Canceled; Ulvang Continues World Tour

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

– The FIS classic sprint races scheduled for Nov. 6 in Inari, Finland, have been canceled because of a lack of snow. Inari is located in the Lapland region of northern Finland. Nearly five hours southwest, members of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project (Craftsbury, Vt.) were on snow in Muonio.

“Reports from around Europe and especially Scandinavia make us feel quite lucky to have our 3km loop,” U.S. Ski Team member Ida Sargent wrote on the Craftsbury blog. “With incredibly few options for skiing anywhere on the continent, more and more skiers are travelling to Muonio in search of snow and ski races.  The Czech and Belarussian national teams are the latest arrivals and we’ve heard that the Germans, Swedes, and others are on the way.”

– One of the greatest nordic skiers to come out of Norway, six-time Olympic medalist Vegard Ulvang is headed to the Birkie. Ulvang will participate in February’s American Birkebeiner as a “research ambassador” for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society-Wisconsin Chapter. Those who donate $2,000 or more to the Skiers for Cures program can ski with Ulvang and have lunch with him after.

On Oct. 30, Ulvang — the chairman of the FIS cross-country committee — set out on a ski-touring journey to the South Pole with Jan-Gunnar Winther, Stein P. Aasheim and Harald Dag Jølle. They plan to arrive at their destination on Dec. 14. To follow their expedition, click here.

– The Norwegian website celebrated 11 years of being in the being in the cross-country ski news business on Wednesday. Back in 2000, the site launched under Bente Skari, Espen Bjervig, Geir Skari, Njål Engløk, Thorodd Bakken, Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset and Thomas Alsgaard.

July 1 Roundup: Ex-Finnish skier handed suspended sentence in doping case, Northug criticized for poker

Friday, July 1st, 2011

- On Thursday the Helsinki District Court sentenced former Finnish skier Jari Räsänen to 12 months for lying in a 1999 doping investigation, according to Sports Illustrated. The case opened up when the Finnish news service, STT, reported that Räsänen had taken team-provided performance enhancers during the height of his career, which included Olympic bronze in 1992 and 1994, both in the relay. At the time STT was convicted of libel for having no evidence.  The case reopened in 2008 when former coach Kari-Pekka Kyro went on TV to say that doping had been systematic on the Finnish team in the 1990s.  Räsänen was handed a 12-month suspended sentenced along with his former coach Pekka Vahasoyrinki, who was given 9 months for denying that he had supplied the drugs.

- Svetlana Hvostunkova (RUS) and Simone Paredi (ITA) won the third race of the rollerski World Cup in heavy rain in San Giacomo, Italy, on Wednesday in a 6.5 k classic uphill climb.

- Norwegian Industry Minister Trond Gisk is apparently disgusted with athletes like Petter Northug for participating in foreign poker tournaments every year, reports the NRK. Gisk confronted Northug at a seminar in Stavanger, telling reporters later that “when athletes brought up on the Norwegian sports model do this, they shoot themselves in the foot,” citing the fact that money spent on foreign gambling should instead go to the national sport system that nurtured them.  Northug’s spokesman defended the skier, saying that Northug comes from local sport, and should be allowed to “have a life” outside of skiing.  Northug is planning on coming to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker on July 9.

- On the topic of Northug, there have been no new reports on whether he will officially sign to stay on with the Norwegian National Team, forgoing the millions of dollars offered to him to be the leader of a private team.

- In other news, the 98th Tour de France starts tomorrow at 8 a.m. ET on Versus.  Fasten your heart rate monitors.

No Surprises: Norway Runs Away With Women’s Relay

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

After Marianna Longa of Italy finished the first leg of the women’s 4 x 5 k World Championships relay in first place, Therese Johaug took the lead in the second leg, and she and her teammates never looked back. Kristin Stoermer Steira extended Norway’s lead to over 30 seconds and Marit Bjoergen was unchallenged as the anchor; she looked in control and paused in the stadium to grab a flag before crossing the finish line.

The Swedish team of Ida Ingmarsdotter, Anna Haag, Britta Johansson Norgren and Charlotte Kalla were second at every exchange. Finland was third at every exchange; going into the last leg, the two teams were separated by only a second, but Kalla attacked almost immediately and by the finish had put more than 20 seconds on Krista Lahteenmaki, the Finnish anchor.

Italy had one of the wildest rides of the day, dropping from first to eighth on the second leg before skiing back up to finish fourth.

The Americans overcame a rough start to finish ninth, while Canada was fourteenth.

Full writeup to follow.

Finland Announces Team for Kuusamo World Cups

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

As the host nation, Finland will have a large Nation’s group at the World Cup opener in Kuusamo.  The three day minitour starts with a sprint on friday, and according to Finnish Eurosport announcer, Christian Selin, some of the sprinters will only race that day.

Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, recovering from a shoulder injury, will not race

Women – World Cup Team
Riitta-Liisa Roponen, Riikka Sarasoja, Pirjo Muranen, Krista Lähteenmäki, Anne Kyllönen, Kirsi Perälä, Laura Ahervo

Men – World Cup Team
Matti Heikkinen, Sami Jauhojärvi, Lasse Paakkonen, Matias Strandvall, Ville Nousiainen, Nicolas Colliander, Kalle Lassila, Lari Lehtonen

Women – Nation’s Group
Marjaana Pitkänen, Maria Grundvall, Satu Pirttiniemi, Outi Gröndahl, Maija Hakala

Men – Nation’s Group
Tero Similä, Anssi Pentsinen, Jussi Simula, Martti Jylhä, Kari Varis.
Reserve Mikko Koutaniemi.