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Posts Tagged ‘World Cup Finals’

Peterson Narrowly Bests Jönsson; Swedes Sweep Podium and Harvey Fourth in Falun

Friday, March 14th, 2014

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.


Northug Secures World Cup Finals Win, Norway Sweeps Podium

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Petter Northug, Jr., (NOR) hung on to his 30-second lead in the 15 k freestyle pursuit on Sunday, the fourth and final stage of World Cup Finals, to win both the mini-tour and widen his margin of victory in the overall World Cup for 2012-2013. He maintained his half-minute margin over teammates Finn Haagen Krogh and Martin Johnsrud Sundby until the final straightaway, when he slowed down to wave to the crowd, and crossed the finish-line 0.7 seconds ahead of Krogh.

In the battle for second in the World Cup overall, Alexander Legkov (RUS) held off Dario Cologna (SUI) in a sprint finish four fourth and fifth in the pursuit. Legkov won the duel by 0.3 seconds and will take second in the overall standings.

Alex Harvey (CAN) was the top North American finisher in 25th, 3:40.5 back, and Noah Hoffman was close behind for the U.S. in 27th (+3:41.9).

Devon Kershaw (CAN) came through in 31st in a photo finish with Chris Andre Jespersen (NOR), +4:27.4, Torin Koos (USA) took 35th (+4:52.6), Andy Newell (USA) finished 38th (+5:25.4) and Lenny Valjas finished 48th out of 48 finishers (+10:02.9).


FIS Changes Falun Course, Bjørgen Wins Prologue Against Full Field

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

In the second stage of World Cup Finals, Marit Bjørgen (NOR) took a 4.4-second victory on Friday in the 2.5 k freestyle prologue in Falun, Sweden, with a time of 6:03.2. Charlotte Kalla (SWE) came through with the second-fastest time, 6:07.6, and Kikkan Randall (USA) rounded out the podium in third (6:09.8).

It was a strong day for the U.S. women. After Randall, Holly Brooks was seventh (6:15.5) and Jessie Diggins finished eighth (6:17.4) for three out of six Americans in the top 10. Liz Stephen finished 20th (6:24.3), Ida Sargent was 38th (6:39.5) and Rosie Brennan took 46th (6:45.1).

Emily Nishikawa led the Canadian women in 41st (6:40.8) and Dasha Gaiazova finished 47th (6:46.8).

There were loud complaints from the athletes on Thursday that new changes to the Falun course were hazardous to skier safety, and many threatened to boycott the prologue if changes weren’t made to eliminate the more sketchy downhill turns. On Friday morning athletes met with FIS again after lengthy discussions on Thursday evening and made the requested changes. As a result, the full field competed with the exception of Ida Ingemarsdotter (SWE).




Canadians Looking for Every Edge, Use Full Course in Pursuit

Monday, March 19th, 2012

FALUN, Sweden – A number of readers noticed that Canadians Devon Kershaw and Lenny Valjas appeared to ski outside of the marked track in Sunday’s pursuit.

The course featured a stretch of several hundred meters that was split down the middle by pine boughs.

Skiers took the outer track the frist time through, skiing to the top of Mördarbacken.

After a long descent, the course looped back to the big hill, and skiers took the left track just one-third of the way up, before splitting off and heading back to the stadium.

Kershaw and Valjas skied in the outer left lane on their second pass of the lap, when everyone else was on the inside.

The Canadians cut back across as the trail split.

Kershaw and Valjas crossing the boughs.

The fork was a popular place for coaches, and during the race, several seemed surprised and somewhat perturbed by this strategy—seemingly thinking the Canadians were breaking the rules.

That was not the case at all.

Kershaw told FasterSkier, that a FIS rule change states that racers may ski on either side of pine boughs.

“You can go wherever the hell you want,” Kershaw said.

V-boards, on the other hand, may not be crossed.

Kershaw said that Canadian Head Coach Justin Wadsworth confirmed this rule with the Jury prior to the start of the race.

The reason for the unorthodox route (a longer line through the turn) was to stay on harder, faster snow.

With warm temperatures, portions of the track softened up and were much slower.

The outside of the turn stayed harder, in part due to the course barriers, which shaded the snow from the sun.

“It was really, really hard and icy and I need all the help I can get on these climbs, so I was definitely drifting around to try to find the fastest snow,” Kershaw said.

Interestingly, between the men’s and women’s races, v-boards appeared on the course around the bend at the bottom of Mördarbacken, meaning the women could not repeat the tactic.

Unfortunately, due to travel schedules, FasterSkier was unable to locate a Jury member for an explanation.

Following Injury, Ellefson Opts Out of Falun 15 k

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

FALUN, Sweden — Though his name was on the start list, Sylvan Ellefson (USA) decided to withdraw from the 15 k mass start classic on Saturday in order to give his ankle more time to heel. He injured it on Friday in a crash during the prologue.

Below is an update on Ellefsonfrom U.S. team doctor Michael Pleacher:

Basically it is a bad leg contusion—it is something that is not serious enough to require any major interventions, it just takes time to heal. He is just going to be day-to-day.

[Whether to race or not] was completely up to him; it was a decision that was going to be pain related. Unfortunately he was not able to go. In terms of safety it would have been appropriate for him to go if he had wanted to.

Ellefson could not be reached on Saturday for comment. With SuperTour Finals coming up in Craftsbury, Vermont, it is possible he is cutting his losses and giving his ankle time to recover for the last U.S races of the season. If Ellefson is the overall SuperTour leader after Craftsbury, he will have earned himself another set of World Cup start rights for the beginning of the 2012-2013 season.

Kowalczyk Wins Women’s 10km Classic, Noway Dominates the Top Ten

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

FALUN, Sweden – It comes as no surprise at this point in a women’s mass start race on the World Cup that Marit Bjoergen (NOR), Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) and Therese Johaug (NOR) are going to hammer from the gun.  The distance does not matter, they are going to trade punches and see who is standing at the finish line.

Today in the 10km classic at the World Cup Finals was no different as they quickly opened up a gap on the pack.  What was unique, but not a surprise to the Norwegian camp, was that Heidi Weng (NOR), along with Charlotte Kalla (SWE), was able to hang throughout.

Through the gradual terrain of the course’s opening kilometers it was Bjoergen, Kowalczyk, Johaug, Weng and Kalla that were able to distance themselves from the rest as they rounded the lefthand bend to start the Mördarbacken lined with passionate fans.  As the five charged up the climb during the first lap, the strategy of Kowalczyk and Johaug became clear, play to their strengths, that being climbing and their hope was to put enough time into the others so that they could not come back to them.  They set a tempo that most would think was a full sprint and although they opened up a gap, it was not enough and Bjoergen and Weng closed the opening as they descended back into the stadium.

As they started the gradual climbs of the second lap, Bjoergen began to fade off the back.  But could she stay in contact?  The answer was no and as the other three climbed the Mördarbacken for the second time, it was Kowalczyk that landed the winning blow, putting six seconds into the Norwegian duo by the highpoint.

From there the race was on for second as the two Norwegians battle right to the line, with Weng getting the best of Johaug, 15.3 seconds off the pace of Kowalczyk and one second ahead of her countrywoman.  Following Johaug was Bjoergen in fourth and Kristin Stoermer Steira (NOR) in fifth.  Kalla followed, but was backed by three more Norwegians making it seven in the top nine.

For the American, Kikkan Randall led the way in 14th place with Jessie Diggins in 19th and Liz Stephen in 26th position.

On the Canadian side, Chandra Crawford was first to the finish line in 35th place, 2:41.1 off the lead while Dasha Gaiazova took 41st place, 3:21.0 down.

Complete Results

All 2012 FIS World Cup Finals coverage is brought to you through the generous support of Fischer Sports USA, proud sponsors of Kikkan Randall, 2012 overall Sprint Cup Champion.


Valjas Continues to Roll in WCF Prologue

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

FALUN, Sweden – The fact that Lenny Valjas (CAN) was skiing in his first career prologue didn’t seem to faze the towering Canadian.

Coming off podium finishes in consecutive World Cup sprints, and enterign the day fourth in the World Cup Final mini-tour, Valjas skied to 21st place, his best World CUp distance result.

“I tried to start conservative a little bit, but as soon as you get to the big Mördarbacken hill it’s just tough,” Valjas told FasterSkier. “Even if you start slow you’re grinding your way up there.”

Valjas said he isn’t the best climber when the terrain is steep, so “I just picked my way up and I lost eleven seconds by the split.”

He dropped only another six over the next 2.1 k.

While pleased with that he said “I have some work to do if I want to compete with the top guys here.”

Of the famed Mördarbacken, Vlajas said “It really is a wall—it is as steep as it can get before you have to herringbone and walk up it.”

With the strong performance Valjas moved into third in the World Cup Finals standings, just behind of teammate Alex Harvey and ahead of Dario Cologna (SUI).

His race was somewhat overshadowed by Harvey’s victory and Devon Kershaw finishing third.

“I am really happy for my teammates,” Valjas said. “I was getting splits out there so I knew Alex won and Devon was third, it was a good feeling.”

Canadian Head Coach Justin Wadsworth said the goal is now to try and keep Valjas in the top-15 in the World Cup Finals mini-tour.

“He is a good classic skier and it is a mass start…You never know with this guy —he is definitely feeling it right now.”

Valjas climbing in the prologue.

All 2012 FIS World Cup Finals coverage is brought to you through the generous support of Fischer Sports USA, proud sponsors of Kikkan Randall, 2012 overall Sprint Cup Champion.

Ellefson Hurt Descending Off Mördarbacken – UPDATED

Friday, March 16th, 2012

FALUN, Sweden – While descending back down to the stadium after the Mördarbacken, Sylvan Ellefson (USA) crashed on a challenging corner following the second of two bridges where the course took a hard left. Ellefson was cared for on the course about five minutes before continuing towards the finish. As he finished it was clear that he was in significant pain and imediately received medical attention by both the US Ski Team’s Doctor, Michael Pleacher, as well as FIS medical services.

According to US Ski Team coach Matt Whitcomb, Ellefson’s leg was severely swollen and had abrasions. The swelling has gone down, but he as been taken to the local hospital for further evaluation and to make sure there are no fractures. Dr. Pleacher is with him at the hospital.

UPDATE from Ellefson:

“I had the exact start I was planning on, stepping on it but making sure I had enough to really ski the Mordarbacken well. I got to the start of the Mordarbacken and hit it hard. Felt strong and still paced. I got to the first split in 1st when I went across and overall it was the 21st fastest. I honestly felt great at the top, I guess as good as you can feel at that top of that hill. Coming over the second bridge crossing there was a sharp left corner, but not one I was really that concerned about. We had skied the day before and it was skiing pretty well. I came around the turn and a funny rut had developed and my left ski didn’t quite make it out. It was at the fastest part of the course so I was probably going around 60kph or so. I slid on my side and headed straight for a sponsor banner. I tried to lift my feet but my right leg collided with the barrier.

I got the air knocked, ski was gone, I guess my boot broke, and I was missing a basket. After they wrapped my leg Pete Vordenberg was there and I just asked if I could finish. He said, “Sylvan…is that a good idea?” I got up, put the poles back on and finished.

Immediately after I crashed they took down the banner and put up giant red padding.

I went to hospital with Dr. Pleacher just to make sure I hadn’t fractured anything. I had a lot of adrenaline pumping when  got back up so it was hard to say what my leg actually felt like. I was able to walk a little on it at the hospital, but opted not to get an x-ray. Both Dr. Pleacher and the Swedish doctor agreed that it was probably just a hematoma. But I’ll tell you its swollen as a sun-of-a-gun right now.

Just icing and keeping it elevated.

Everything is good now. Super pumped to see some NorAm domination out there today! Such an awesome job by some super hard working folk.”


Canada Puts Two on Prologue Podium

Friday, March 16th, 2012

FALUN, Sweden – As the sun set here in Sweden the spirits of the Canadian team rose for the men’s 3.3km Freestyle Prologue as both Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw raced to podium finishes.  For Harvey it would be his first ever individual World Cup victory, crossing the line in 8:16.8, a mere 0.2 seconds quicker than Dario Cologna (SUI).  Following Cologna was Harvey’s good friend and team Devon Kershaw, who was 3.1 seconds off his countryman’s winning pace.

“Great day for Canada!  I mean two on the podium for men, never happened before in over a hundred year or ever, it’s great,” Kershaw told FasterSkier after the race.

Kershaw, who donned bib 33 was the leader in the clubhouse, so to speak, with Cologna and Harvey still out on course.  Havey then entered the stadium, shortly after and charged to the line.  As the two embraced they watched the large stadium screen as Cologna came to the finish to see what time he would post.  Laughter soon followed as they realized that just 0.2 second earned Harvey the top step of this World Cup Final prologue race.

“I felt good, it was a tough race.  The prologue it is short, but it’s hard.  I was a little bit tired on the uphill, but I think that is normal,” said Cologna at the finish.

As a late starter based on his podium in Stockholm, Canadian Lenny Valjas gained inspiration by the splits he was hearing on course, which said that his two teammates were in podium positions.  Valjas crossed the line in 8:34.0, good enough for 21st place.

“It is amazing, for our team to have the season that we are having right now, it has been super fun.  Our team is really close, we are like a big family.  I am super excited for both of them and for their success.”

On the American side, both the ascent and subsequent descent of the Mördarbacken took its toll as Andy Newell finished a hard-fought 30th place finish, +24.7 second off Harvey’s pace.

As Newell said following the race, “it’s a tough course.  I can do well on some of these prologues sometimes, but this one is especially hard because it goes straight into the biggest part of the hill.  For me it would be better if it was a little flatter at first and the big hill was at the end.”

Sylvan Ellefson (USA) was having a great race early on, posting the 21st fastest time through 1.2km, but crashed on the downhill.  As he came to the finish line he was clearly in pain, limping off to get examined by US Ski Team doctor Michael Pleacher.

Complete Results

All 2012 FIS World Cup Finals coverage is brought to you through the generous support of Fischer Sports USA, proud sponsors of Kikkan Randall, 2012 overall Sprint Cup Champion.

Bjoergen Bests the Mördarbacken, US Women Shine in the Swedish Sun

Friday, March 16th, 2012

FALUN, Sweden – Marit Bjoergen (NOR) was the fastest in the ladies’ 2.5km freestyle prologue this afternoon, crossing the finish line in 6:54.4.  With the warm temperatures and sunny skies it was all smiles for the Norwegian after she crossed finish line and had conquered the infamous Mördarbacken.

Marit Bjorgen (NOR) on her way up the Mördarbacken.

Following Bjoergen was Sweden’s own Charlotte Kalla (+6.2), who seems to be coming into top form, much to the delight of the passionate Swedish fans that lined the Mördarbacken.  The third fastest in the prologue was Mathe Kristohhersen (NOR), who crossed the line in 7:05.8.

Charlotte Kalla (SWE) working her way up the Mördarbacken.

For the United States it was a brilliant day in the sun, as Kikkan Randall led the way in 7th place, finishing in a time of 7:10.0.  “I felt really good, I think the skis were just awesome today,” she said immediately following the race.

As for the challenges of the Mördarbacken, Randall told FasterSkier.

“It is a pretty fun hill to ski; it changes grades there a couple of times, it’s packed with fans, it gets nice and steep there at the top, but I felt good through that part and it is fun knowing there is an exciting downhill waiting for you on the other side.”

Right after Randall was Jessie Diggins, just 0.4 seconds back in 8th, while Liz Stephen rounded out an expressive day for the team finishing in 13th place, 20.4 seconds off the winning time.

“I felt really good,” said Diggins after the race. “The skis were really fast, I was really impressed with the coaches and what they did with them.”

As for the Mördarbacken from Diggins perspective, “that hill is really hard to keep your tempo up, it just pitches up.”

Randall, Diggins and Stephen were all smiles at the finish and you could tell that they were all excited about the way they had skied as they all had left everything they could on the course.

On the Canadian side, things did not go quite as well, but they were mostly happy with their results.  Dasha Gaiazova led the way in 7:27.5, good enough for 27th place.  Next came Chandra Crawford, who crossed the line in 45th place in a time of 7:43.1.

Canada’s Alysson Marshall, who posted the slowest time in the fielded, finishing 49th in a time of 8:07.2, has been battling illness and unable to train.

Complete Results

All 2012 FIS World Cup Finals coverage is brought to you through the generous support of Fischer Sports USA, proud sponsors of Kikkan Randall, 2012 overall Sprint Cup Champion.