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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

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 her from Bjørgen, and she cruised to the victory in 41:08.9.

Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen placed third, 56.6 seconds behind Johaug, and Norway’s Heidi Weng beat out Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla and another Norwegian Kristin Størmer-Steira to the finish in fourth through sixth, respectively. Sweden’s Emma Wiken was seventh, Russia’s Yulia Tchekaleva and Eva Vrabcova-Nyvltova eighth and ninth, and Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg 10th.

Johaug now leads the overall World Cup by seven points, and 15th in the World Cup Finals mini tour.

Kikkan Randall is the top non-Norwegian in the standings in fifth, behind Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen in third and Weng in fourth. The American placed 20th behind teammate Liz Stephen in 15th.

Sadie Bjornsen finished 21st for the U.S., along with Jessie Diggins in 36th, Ida Sargent in 37th, Caitlin Gregg in 40th, and Sophie Caldwell in 41st.

The lone Canadian at World Cup Finals, Andrea Dupont was 45th.

Results

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 up 30th, but topped Brandsdal by eight points for the Crystal Globe. Germany’s Josef Wenzl also made the overall sprint podium in third, becoming the first German male to make the Sprint World Cup top three.

Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby, who did not qualify in 34th, continues to lead the overall World Cup standings by a whopping 471 points over Russia’s Alexander Legkov. Chris Andre Jespersen of Norway ranks third, Halfvarsson is fourth, and Harvey is now 12 points behind the Swede in fifth.

American Andy Newell finished eighth after advancing as a lucky loser in third from his quarterfinal, then placing fourth in his semi. Newell was issued a written warning for skating, as was Martti Jylhae of Finland, who placed 12th overall.

Reese Hanneman of the U.S. missed qualifying by 0.45 seconds in 31st, Canada’s Devon Kershaw placed 40th, American Noah Hoffman was 46th, and Canadian Ivan Babikov 47th.

Results

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

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 overall World Cup I have to be good and faster than Therese next three competitions.”

Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla took fourth (+2:46.6) after skiing with Niskanen from around 20 to 24 k, then dropping about 15 seconds behind. Finland’s Aino-Kaisa Saarinen was fifth (+3:08.9), ahead of another Swede, Emma Wiken in sixth (+3:17.8).

It was nearly 45 seconds to the next finisher, with Eva Vrabcova-Nyvltova of the Czech Republic in seventh, Norway’s Kristin Størmer-Steira in eighth, Sweden’s Sofia Bleckur in ninth, and Finland’s Krista Lahteenmaki in 10th.

Russia’s Yulia Tchekaleva placed 11th and American Kikkan Randall was just 5.8 seconds back in 12th (+4:17.7). Norway’s Heidi Weng placed 13th, and Sadie Bjornsen of the U.S. outsprinted another Norwegian, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg by 0.1 seconds for 14th (+4:27.8).

Also for the U.S., Liz Stephen placed 32nd, Sophie Caldwell was 35th, Caitlin Gregg finished 39th, and Ida Sargent was 42nd. Canada’s lone woman entered in the 30 k, Andrea Dupont did not start. American Jennie Bender also did not start.

Results

Daniel Richardsson Victorious in Holmenkollen 50 k

 

Daniel Richardsson of Sweden carefully paced himself throughout the grueling 50 kilometers to win in Saturday’s classic mass start World Cup at Holmenkollen in Oslo, Norway.

The race started fast, with skiers hungry for the bonus points at the end of each loop. Five skiers broke off the main pack early on: Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway, Alexander Legkov of Russia, Finland’s Livo Niskanen, Sweden’s Richardsson, and Lukas Bauer of the Czech Republic.

After the second lap all of the leading skiers pulled into the ski exchange except for Bauer, who looked to make a breakaway on the other four men. Bauer gained a twenty-second advantage by opting not to change skis. Sundby and Legkov led the chase, and by the time they reached the 22 k mark they had caught Bauer.

Sundby did the majority of the work at the front of the race, cheered on by the raucous crowd at Holmenkollen. 33 k into the race Sundby took the lead pack into the exchange for the second change of skis. Legkov, Richardsson, and Niskanen followed close behind him. Bauer had been dropped by over 30 seconds.

Shortly after the exchange it was Niskanen who was unable to stay with the pace, and by 36 k he was 18 seconds behind Sundby in the lead.

With three men left in contention for the race, it was Sundby and Legkov who traded leads, with Richardsson skiing behind the two. At 47 k Sundby made an attack up a climb. Richardsson managed to stay with the Norwegian, but Legkov lost contact by a couple of seconds. The Russian fought to catch up and nearly did, but soon fell back again.

Sundby led over the last hill, and as soon as the Holmenkollen stadium came into view with 800 meters left, Richardsson took off with a burst of speed that an exhausted Sundby couldn’t match.

Richardsson carried his lead into the finish line to win with a time of 2:07:29. Sundby was second, a result that was good enough to secure him the overall World Cup title this season, and Legkov was third.

 

Results:

1. Daniel Richardsson (SWE) 2:07:29.5

2. Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR) +8.2

3. Alexander Legkov (RUS) +14.5

4. Livo Niskanen (FIN)+1:22.3

5. Lars Nelson (SWE) +1:55.3

 

North American Results:

14. Alex Harvey

29. Noah Hoffman

51. Erik Bjornsen

54. Simi Hamilton

56. Reese Hanneman

 

Full Results

Gracious Norwegians Allow Other Nations a Bronze Medal in Drammen Sprints, Sweep Silver and Gold

Still riding high from her Olympic gold medal, Norway’s Maiken Falla claimed her first classic sprint victory in the Drammen sprints, barely edging her teammate, Marit Bjørgen, while Sweden’s Stina Nilsson battled her way into third.

In the men’s race the Norwegians also proved untouchable, with Ola Vigen Hattestad‘s longer legs allowing him the kick needed to get his toe across the line barely ahead of teammate Pål Golberg. In third place was Italy’s Maicol Rastelli, after being given a new lease on life when a mid-race crash took Swedish contender Emil Jönsson and Finn Matias Strandvall out of the podium contention.

Alaskan World Cup sprint leader Kikkan Randall finished in 7th place after just missing the finals, but it was still good enough to wrap up her third-straight Sprint Cup title. Randall started toward the back of her semi-final heat, but powerful double-poling brought her into second place in the final stretch. However, the mad dash of high-tempo striding to the finish line proved too much, and Randall was edged by “less than a toenail” in a photo finish with Nilsson, leaving her in third place and missing her chance to advance to the finals.

Peri Jones was the top Canadian woman, finishing 24th, followed by a deep field of American women with Sadie Bjornsen in 30th, Ida Sargent in 35th, Sophie Caldwell in 37th, Holly Brooks in 48th and Jennie Bender, competing in just her second World Cup after last weekend’s races in Lahti, Finland, finished 51st. Canadian Andrea DuPont was 58th.

Canadian Alex Harvey was the top North American man, finishing in 24th after advancing to the semi-finals but finishing fifth in a closely contested heat. Teammates Len Valjas and Devon Kershaw were 35th and 54th, respectively. American Andy Newell was 25th, bringing in the top finish for American men, followed by teammates Simi Hamilton in 32nd, Erik Bjornsen in 51st, and World Cup newcomers Reese Hanneman and Sylvan Ellefson in 61st and 69th, respectively.

Results: Men | Women

Nobody Comes Close to Beating Bjørgen in Lahti 10 k Skate

After racking up three gold medals at the Sochi Olympics last month, Norway’s Marit Bjørgen rose to the top of the podium in the first distance race back on the World Cup on Sunday in Lahti, Finland.

One of the later starters out of more than 80 women in the 10-kilometer freestyle individual start, Bjørgen worked into the race, taking the lead after the 6.3 k checkpoint and finishing 26.9 seconds ahead of runner-up Charlotte Kalla of Sweden.

Bjørgen won in 25:05.3, and another Norwegian, Therese Johaug finished 0.7 seconds after Kalla in third. Fourth in the freestyle sprint at the Olympics, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen placed fourth on Sunday (+30.1), and the fourth Norwegian in the top five, Heidi Weng was fifth (+34.9).

An early leader, Riitta-Liisa Roponen of Finland placed sixth (+51.0), and her teammate, Kerttu Niskanen was seventh. Sweden’s Emma Wiken finished eighth, Finland’s Kaisa Makarainen was ninth, and France’s Coraline Hugue was 10th.

Kikkan Randall was the top American in 21st (+1:36.3). Liz Stephen finished 32nd (+1:53.7), Holly Brooks was 44th, and Caitlin Gregg 46th.

Alysson Marshall placed 62nd for Canada, and her Alberta World Cup Academy teammate was right behind in 63rd. Cendrine Browne was 68th, and Andrea Dupont 71st.

Results

Sundby Steps Up for 15 k Skate Victory in Lahti; Harvey Eighth

Coming off a bronze medal at the Olympics in the 30-kilometer skiathlon, Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway showed everybody, including his mom, that he’s at the top of his game with a win in Sunday’s 15 k freestyle individual start in Lahti, Finland.

One of the later starters in the 90-plus-man field, Sundby finished with the fastest time of 33:05.5, more than 10 seconds ahead of anyone else.

Sweden’s Daniel Richardsson took second, 10.7 seconds back, and Russia’s Alexander Legkov, coming off gold in the Olympic 50 k skate exactly a week ago, placed third, 11.2 behind Sundby. Norway finished fourth through sixth with Anders Glørssen, Finn Hågen Krogh, and Sjur Røthe, respectively.

German U23 Florian Notz broke through in seventh in his first World Cup race, finishing 1.7 seconds ahead of Canada’s Alex Harvey, who was eighth (+55.0). France’s Jean Marc Gaillard took ninth, and Finland’s Matti Heikkinen was 10th.

Noah Hoffman led the U.S. men in 24th. Erik Bjornsen, also of the U.S. Ski Team, was 51st. Reese Hanneman (APU) placed 73rd, and Sylvan Ellefson (SSCV/Team HomeGrown) was 79th.

After Harvey, Ivan Babikov placed 29th for Canada, Graham Nishikawa (Canadian Senior Development Team/Para-Nordic Team) was 41st, Devon Kershaw 43rd, Michael Somppi (AWCA) 58th, Kevin Sandau (AWCA) 80th, and Raphael Couturier (CNEPH) 85th.

Results

Golberg Gets Back to Winning Ways in Lahti Skate Sprint; Harvey Seventh

Pål Golberg of Norway seized victory in today’s freestyle sprint in Lahti, Finland. Golberg, who’s first World Cup win came in December’s sprint in Lillehammer, received some luck on his path to the finish line. Golberg qualified for the final heat as a lucky loser, and found himself skiing for much of the final heat in second to last.

In the final, Matias Strandvallen (FIN) and Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) fell simultaneously but unrelated to each other, leaving the sprint to be contested by Golberg, Alexey Petukhov (RUS) in second, Eirik Brandsdal (NOR) in third, and Teodor Peterson (SWE) in fourth.

Emil Jönsson of Sweden was the favorite to win today having won the sprint race in Lahti the past three years. However, in his semifinal his ski went under Alex Harvey, causing him to collide with the Canadian and stand up on his skis to avoid falling in the final stretch. Jönsson tweeted, according to a translation: “Last three World Cup races, I have fallen / broken rod, in the Olympics, I stood up. Maybe will try to continue with that tactic #wisely #GrattisPål”

The North American results were led by Harvey in seventh, and American Simi Hamilton in 20th.

1. Pål Golberg (NOR)

2. Alexey Putkhov (RUS)

3. Eirik Brandsdal (NOR)

4. Teodor Peterson (SWE)

5. Matias Strandvall (FIN)

6. Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR)

 

North American Results:

 

7. Alex Harvey (CAN)

20. Simi Hamilton (USA)

28. Andy Newell (USA)

43. Len Valjas (CAN)

64. Devon Kershaw (CAN)

69. Erik Bjornsen (USA)

80. Reese Hanneman (USA)

82. Raphael Couturier (CAN)

83. Graham Nishikawa (CAN)

93. Sylvan Ellefson (USA)

 

Results

Randall Wins Lahti Sprint, Caldwell Third

Saturday was a historic day for the American women as the first post-Olympic World Cup took place in Lahti, Finland. After qualifying 11th, Kikkan Randall skied her way to another World Cup victory in the 1.5 k freestyle sprint. The win moves Randall to first in the World Cup sprint rankings, just under 40 points ahead of Germany’s Denise Hermann who failed to advance out of the quarterfinals in Saturday’s race.

Randall wasn’t the only American to turn heads. Sophie Caldwell made her first World Cup podium, finishing third. The up-and-coming skier finished sixth in the same event at the Sochi Olympics, the best result an American woman has ever obtained.

The result marks the first time two American women have been on a World Cup podium together.

Slovenian Katja Visnar joined the American’s on the podium, placing second. The final was missing some big names, such as Norway’s Ingvlid Flugstad Østberg who finished first in the qualification round but fell over Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla in semifinals.

Women’s 1.5 k freestyle sprint results

Peterson Tops Men’s Skate-Sprint Qualifier in Lahti

Sweden’s Teodor Peterson topped the men’s 1.55-kilometer freestyle sprint qualifier at the fist World Cup in nearly a month in Lahti, Finland, on Saturday, less than a week after the final men’s race at the Olympics.

Peterson put down the fastest time of 2:30.57, edging Norway’s Haavard Solaas Taugboel by 0.84 seconds. Another Norwegian, Pål Golberg advanced in third (+1.72), and Sweden’s Johan Edin was close behind in fourth (+1.75), as was Ola Vigen Hattestad in fifth (+1.9).

Alex Harvey was the lone Canadian qualifier in 14th. Lenny Valjas was outside the top 30 in 43rd, Devon Kershaw placed 64th, Raphael Couturier was 82nd, Graham Nishikawa 83rd, and Michael Somppi 85th.

Andy Newell and Simi Hamilton qualified for the U.S., with Newell in 23rd and Hamilton in 29th. Erik Bjornsen placed 69th in the qualifier, Reese Hanneman was 80th, and Sylvan Ellefson 93rd.

Results

Østberg Opens Lahti World Cup with Qualifying Win; Randall, Caldwell Advance

Exactly a week after the last women’s race at the Olympics, the skiers jumped back into the World Cup on Saturday in Lahti, Finland, where Ingvild Flugstad Østberg of Norway nipped Slovenia’s Katja Visnar by sixth-hundredths of a second in the women’s 1.55-kilometer freestyle sprint qualifier.

Marit Bjørgen qualified third for Norway, 0.14 seconds behind Østberg’s winning time of 2:53.89. Another Slovenian, Vesna Fabjan advanced in fourth (+0.43), and Sweden’s Jennie Oeberg had the fifth-fastest time (+0.8).

Kikkan Randall qualified 11th for the U.S., and her teammate Sophie Caldwell made the cut in 25th.

No Canadian women made the top 30 to advance to the heats, with Perianne Jones in 34th, Alysson Marshall in 46th, Heidi Widmer in 47th, Andrea Dupont in 59th, and Cendrine Browne in 71st.

Also for the U.S., Ida Sargent was 44th, Jennie Bender 58th, Holly Brooks 66th, Caitlin Gregg 68th, and Liz Stephen 75th.

Results

Video: Road to Sochi – Team Spain

Our friends on the Spanish national team asked us to share this with you.  They’re ready for the Games to begin.  Are you?

 

Norway Reigns Supreme in Toblach Skate Sprints: Bjørgen, Hattestad Win

Team Norge couldn’t have given itself a better Olympic sendoff, with Marit Bjørgen capturing her second win of the weekend at the Toblach World Cup, then Ola Vigen Hattestad capping it off with a victory in the men’s freestyle sprint — the last race before the 2014 Winter Games start Saturday in Sochi, Russia.

In the women’s 1.3-kilometer final on Sunday, Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla and American Kikkan Randall led most of it, while Bjørgen sat contently in the pack — until the final descent into the stadium. There she out-glided and outlasted the field, holding off Germany’s Denise Herrmann, who also came from behind to take second. Bjørgen won it by 0.42 seconds in 2:59.8, leading three Norwegians in the top four with Ingvild Flugstad Østberg in third (+1.45) and Falla in fourth (+2.12). Randall slipped toward the back of the pack after the last downhill to place fifth (+2.65). Slovenia’s Katja Visnar finished sixth (+3.00).

Hattestad won the men’s 1.3 k final by 0.69 seconds in 2:44.89, leading three Norwegians in the top four. Eirik Brandsdal placed second and Pal Golberg finished fourth after Germany’s Josef Wenzl in third. Golberg edged Sweden’s Teodor Peterson in a photo finish, and Switzerland’s Jovian Hediger took sixth after crashing early in the final.

Randall was the lone North American to make the finals, after qualifying in fourth. Three of her teammates also qualified in the top 30, with Sophie Caldwell in 19th, Jessie Diggins in 21st and Holly Brooks in 27th. They did not advance past the quarters, finishing 19th, 28th, and 29th, respectively.

Also for the U.S., Ida Sargent was just outside qualifying in 33rd, Sadie Bjornsen place 37th and Caitlin Gregg was 41st.

For Canada, Perianne Jones qualified 28th and Dasha Gaiazova advanced in 30th. Both did not advance to the semifinals, with Gaiazova finishing 25th overall and Jones placing 30th. Chandra Crawford narrowly missed the top 30 in 34th and Heidi Widmer was 38th in the qualifier.

In the men’s race, Americans Andy Newell qualified in eighth and Simi Hamilton made the heats in ninth. Hamilton ended up third in his quarterfinal and Newell was fourth in his heat in a photo finish; neither advanced and placed 14th and 17th, respectively. Alex Harvey was Canada’s lone man in the heats, placing fourth behind Hamilton in the quarterfinal for 20th overall.

Outside of qualifying, American Torin Koos was 35th and Canada’s Jesse Cockney placed 47th, Devon Kershaw was 60th and Lenny Valjas 64th in his first World Cup race since leaving the Tour de Ski in late December to rehab his knee at home.

Results: Men | Women

Legov Takes 15 k Classic Win from Cologna in Last Distance Race Before Olympics; Harvey Fifth

Russia's Alexander Legkov leads Canadian Alex Harvey (r) during the men's World Cup 15 k classic individual start on Saturday in Toblach, Italy. Legkov went on to win and Harvey placed fifth. (Photo: Peggy Hung)

Russia’s Alexander Legkov leads Canadian Alex Harvey (r) during the men’s World Cup 15 k classic individual start on Saturday in Toblach, Italy. Legkov went on to win and Harvey placed fifth. (Photo: Peggy Hung)

In what looked to be a fairytale re-entry to the World Cup for Dario Cologna, the plot line didn’t quite play out for the Swiss superstar in Saturday’s 15-kilometer classic individual start in Toblach, Italy.

Cologna started 25th in his first World Cup of the season following an ankle injury in the fall, then rose to the top — finishing with the fastest time by 45 seconds. Others tried to match him, including Russia’s Dmitriy Japarov, who came 21 seconds short in second, and Sweden’s Marcus Hellner, who bumped Japarov down a spot after finishing 14.7 seconds back from Cologna.

Ultimately, Russia’s Alexander Legov had the most juice left at the finish, edging Cologna by 2.9 seconds with the winning time of 37:02.7. Cologna settled for second, Hellner was third (+17.6), Japarov placed fourth (+23.8), and Canadian Alex Harvey notched fifth (+27.4). Petter Northug was the top Norwegian in sixth (+48.3) and an early leader, Lars Nelson of Sweden, ended up seventh (+48.6).

A week before his first Olympics, Erik Bjornsen led the way for the U.S. in 18th (+1:17.9), his first World Cup top 20.

Canada had two in the top 40 with Devon Kershaw in 39th and Graeme Killick in 40th, Noah Hoffmann (USA) was 41st, Jesse Cockney (CAN) placed 51st, Ivan Babikov (CAN) was 62nd, Kris Freeman (USA) 64th, and Brian Gregg (USA) 69th.

Results

Norwegians Back on Top: Bjørgen Wins Toblach 10 k Classic by 36 Seconds; Four U.S. Women in Top 20

Marit Bjørgen (r) on her way to winning Saturday's World Cup 10 k classic individual start in Toblach, Italy. (Photo: Peggy Hung)

Marit Bjørgen (r) on her way to winning Saturday’s World Cup 10 k classic individual start in Toblach, Italy. (Photo: Peggy Hung)

In Marit Bjørgen‘s first World Cup race back since a stomach virus took her out of the Tour de Ski a month ago, the Norwegian showed she’s in top form exactly a week before the Olympics, winning the 10-kilometer classic individual start in Toblach, Italy.

And she made a statement as she did so, posting the fastest times through the two checkpoints at 2.1 and 6.7 k and winning by 36.7 seconds in 26:54.2. Teammate Therese Johaug was second for the Norwegian 1-2 sweep, and Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla notched third, 42.9 seconds behind Bjørgen, in her first World Cup since Davos, Switzerland, in mid December. Second with just over 3 k to go, Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk ended up fifth, following Norway’s Heidi Weng in fourth.

“I am very happy with my result today,” Bjørgen told FIS.  “I was not so strong at Norwegian championships so I was not sure of my shape.”
The 33 year old was third in the 10 k classic at Norwegian nationals on Jan. 16, finishing 1:11 minutes behind Johaug as the winner and 11 seconds after Weng in second.
“It gives me good confidence for Sochi,” Bjørgen said on Saturday. “The competition will be tough, but I hope to win at least one individual gold medal.  My plan is to compete in all six events.”
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The Americans had four in the top 20 with Liz Stephen leading the way in 11th, Kikkan Randall placing 15th, Sadie Bjornsen finishing 17th, and Ida Sargent in 20th. Holly Brooks was right there as well in 22nd, and Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg/Madshus) placed 45th. Canada’s lone starter, Emily Nishikawa was 40th.
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Caitlin Gregg Gets Another Weekend of World Cup Racing in Toblach

After originally planning to fly home to Minneapolis on Wednesday, Caitlin Gregg posted on Facebook on Tuesday that she had a change of plans and will be starting this weekend’s World Cup in Toblach, Italy, before sending her husband Brian off to compete at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

“I have decided to stay in Italy with Brian and see him off before the Olympic Games begin!” Caitlin wrote in a post that began with a tribute to the late Igor Badamshin, Peter Hale and John Hugus. “Life is so awesome but precious! In honor of our former coach Igor Badamshin, our ski rep Peter Hale and our great friend John Hugus we have vowed to live like these incredible men did! Full of life, love and even more so immense GIVING and GRATITUDE to those around us!”

She went on to explain she’ll start the Toblach World Cups this weekend. “I am so grateful the USST has offered to help me out!!! I am sad to miss the City of Lakes Loppet but I will be there in spirit and look forward to seeing everyone in less than two weeks!!!”

Kowalczyk Dusts Women’s 10 k Classic on Her Birthday at Home; Stephen Sixth

A heavy favorite for the women’s 10-kilometer classic mass start in Szklarska Poręba, Poland, Justyna Kowalczyk lived up to her home-crowd’s delight on Sunday, dropping the field soundly by the halfway point and striding to a 41.8-second win.

On her 31st birthday, Kowalczyk finished without anyone in sight in 34:34.2, and waited at the finish to congratulate Russian runner-up Yulia Tchekaleva. Another Russian, Julia Ivanova rounded out the podium in third, 1:15.2 minutes behind, after outsprinting Germany’s Denise Herrmann by four seconds. After Herrmann in fourth, Germany’s Claudia Nystad took fifth, 5.2 seconds ahead of American Liz Stephen in sixth (+1:26.4). For Stephen, it was a career best in an outright World Cup (not including stages).

Germany had three in the top seven with Stefanie Boehler (+1:28.4), who finished ahead of Russia’s Natalia Zhukova in eighth (+1:47.8). Ida Sargent of the U.S. placed ninth (+1:49.3) for her best result of the season, and Austria’s Katerina Smutna was 10th.

Also for the U.S., Kikkan Randall tallied 14th a day after winning her second-straight World Cup skate sprint, Sophie Caldwell was 16th, and Jessie Diggins 24th. Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg/Madshus) did not finish.

Results