Arnaud Du Pasquier, a member of Colorado University’s 2014 squad to NCAA Championships, will be a senior next year. For now, though, he’s taking a year to complete his mandatory military service in his native Switzerland – which he’s doing by skiing full-time, including in the Nations Group at the Davos World Cups.
American Caitlin Gregg had big plans to before heading to the World Cup this winter as the SuperTour leader, with qualification for World Championships at the top of the list. Disappointed in her results the last two weekends, she’s got one more World Cup weekend then will try to make a statement at U.S. nationals.
Which Norwegian and by how much? That seems to be the ongoing question in the beginning of the 2014/2015 World Cup season, with Norwegian dominance for both the men and women since the first race in Ruka, Finland. Sunday in Davos, Switzerland, it was Ingvild Flugstad Østberg who came out on top in the 1.3 k freestyle sprint – and it wasn’t even close.
Three women in the quarterfinals and one just barely outside? U.S. Ski Team coach Matt Whitcomb was thrilled with Ida Sargent’s and Sophie Caldwell’s quarterfinal appearances and pleased to see Kikkan Randall a bit more like herself, he also stayed realistic: “I wouldn’t use any other word that celebrates it more than [good].”
It has been a year and a half since Lenny Valjas last made an appearance in World Cup sprint heats. Let that sink in. The tall Canadian is thrilled that not only is he back and feeling like himself, but he didn’t just squeak in – he qualified tenth and missed a lucky loser spot in the semifinals by just 0.03 seconds.
Finn Hågen Krogh had what he called a perfect race Sunday in Davos, Switzerland. After placing third in the qualification round of the 1.3 k freestyle sprint, the Norwegian rapidly progressed through his quarterfinal, semifinal, and ultimately the final to earn his first World Cup victory and another Norwegian podium sweep.
Liz Stephen wants to ski like skiing really matters: “I was focused on that aggression, and wanting to win more than I’ve ever wanted to win.” That took her to 20th place in the 10 k classic, leading teammates Jessie Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen who all finished within a few seconds. Erik Bjornsen led the U.S. men in 48th place in the 15 k classic.
Whether Therese Johaug is a better skate or classic skier is more or less a moot point now that she’s claimed her second win of the season in another 10 k classic. Johaug beat teammate Marit Bjørgen by more than 42 seconds again on Saturday at the Davos World Cup to quiet anyone who doubted her in that distance technique.
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.
A transcript (find a link inside) of the German documentary which exposed systematic doping in Russia reveals an even worse situation than imagined: how easy it is to purchase cheap EPO without a prescription; how Russian officials threaten that any athlete who goes to the press might “have an accident”. Plus, we talk to Lowell Bailey, Nathan Smith, and Max Cobb about the situation.