Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla won the last World Cup before 2015 World Championships by more than 36 seconds over Norway’s Marit Bjørgen, leading from start to finish for the clear-cut victory. It was her first World Cup win since March 2010, and Bjørgen locked up her fourth Overall World Cup crown.
After individual racing was completed at their national championships – you can find the results inside – Norway named a 23-member team for World Championships in Falun, Sweden. It includes season-long favorites as well as Kristin Størmer Steira and Astrid Jacobsen, who only just returned to the World Cup.
Russian Yulia Tchekaleva won the women’s 15-kilometer skiathlon Sunday by 15.6 seconds, earning her first-ever World Cup victory and delivering her best result of the season on home turf in Rybinsk, Russia.
Sweden’s Stina Nilsson surged past Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg to win the World Cup women’s 6 x 1.2 k freestyle team sprint in Otepää with the same crew that won the Olympic bronze medal at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Therese Johaug surprised nobody as much as herself when she passed Marit Bjørgen in the final meters of Saturday’s 10 k classic mass start. Norway swept the podium again, but Aino Kaisa Saarinen of Finland turned in her best performance all season in fourth place, and American Liz Stephen finished an assertive fifth.
Sunday’s 50-kilometer classic race Jizerská Padesatka near Liberec, Czech Republic, is the next event in the 2015 Swix Ski Classics long-distance circuit and racers are eager to hit the tracks after a long break since mid-December.
A bitter Evgeniy Belov of Russia, who finished fourth in today’s sprint finish of the 25 k Tour de Ski pursuit, pointed his finger at Petter Northug – the Norwegian skied 24.7 kilometers with the lead pack of four, but never actually led the race until he won it. He now leads the Tour by seven seconds over Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Calle Halfvarsson.
Norway’s Marit Bjørgen was untouchable again, for the fourth day in a row as she won the 5k classic in Toblach, Italy, and widening her overall gap to 1:34.3.
For the second sprint in a row, Italy’s Federico Pellegrino came out on top of a stacked World Cup field. Petter Northug of Norway, however, finished second, and retained his overall Tour de Ski lead. “Today, one of my big dreams has come true: to beat Petter (Northug) in the sprint final,” Pellegrino said.
Unsure of whether she can win the Tour, Marit Bjørgen nonetheless set an impressive pace: she won the first race of the seven-race series by ten seconds, despite it being only 3.3 kilometers long. Norway swept the podium again in a World Cup season that’s turning out to be all red.
When Norway’s Didrik Tønseth got appendicitis right before Christmas, replacement Simen Sveen called off the holidays and stayed in Davos to train. “I’m not nervous, just excited,” he told FasterSkier in an exclusive interview. “There’s a big difference. Being excited helps me bring out the best in me.”
Norwegian star Marit Bjørgen has never won the Tour de Ski. On the one hand, who cares – she’s won everything else, mostly several times over. But she’d like a win and thinks that if she can have a minute lead on teammate Therese Johaug going into the final climb, she can do it. Read the rest of our Tour de Ski preview inside!
There was no shortage of action in the men’s 1.3-kilometer freestyle sprint on Sunday as 24-year-old Federico Pellegrino fought his way to his first-ever World Cup win and Italy’s first victory of the season. “I hope it’s a good omen,” he said after the race. “I hope it is the first in a long series of triumphs.”
They called her a wild card — the International Ski Federation, that is. And according to Holly Brooks, she wasn’t sure what she was capable of either. After a second-place finish in the first marathon of the season, she’s excited about what’s ahead of her.
The World Cup races in Davos, Switzerland, have been shortened due to lack of snow, but the OC has been working hard, spending 70+ hours transporting snow from up high to the race course below. They host this weekend’s classic-distance races and freestyle sprints, as well as next weekend’s World Cup after the La Clusaz races were canceled.
Norway’s Pål Golberg tells FasterSkier why Lillehammer has been good to him in the past (and it’s not because he lives there) and why he rollerskis through the winter, at least once a week, and plays golf as much as he can.
As so often on the World Cup lately, it’s not a question of who will fight for the victory, but how the competition between Marit Bjørgen and Therese Johaug will unfold. Sunday held a sprint showdown between the two in the women’s 10 k classic pursuit on the last day of the Lillehammer World Cup mini tour.
Therese Johaug wasn’t sure if last week’s 42-second win over teammate Marit Bjørgen was a fluke. While she wasn’t able to dominate by as big of a margin in Saturday’s 5 k freestyle, Johaug did top Bjørgen again — this time by 0.3 seconds — on Day 2 of the mini tour in Lillehammer, Norway.
One of Norway’s rapidly rising stars, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, 24, took the time to chat with FasterSkier last weekend after her first FIS race of the season. Here she offers advice for anyone training full time: “You have to go for quality over quantity,” she says. “I used to just want to do more and more and more … but what you do really matters more.”
Sondre Turvoll Fossli, the runner-up of Sunday’s 1.5 k classic sprint in Beitostølen, Norway, knew Petter Northug was coming for him sooner or later. Sure enough, Northug on skate skis passed him in the final stretch before the finish for a 0.4-second FIS victory.