Therese Johaug could be the Norwegian Ski Federation’s MVP. But can they keep her? “She’s going to make more money than both Petter Northug and Marit Bjørgen,” one expert says. “The girl has everything, so the sponsors will be willing to pay very much.”
Justyna Kowalczyk announced at a recent Polish press conference that she’s going to continue racing at the highest level for another season, but with some changes to her training. “Sixteen years of training left marks on my body and I need a rest,” she said. “The training will be aimed for the World Championships in Falun.”
Liz Stephen led the U.S. in 15th to get closer to her overall World Cup and distance-ranking goals, and Noah Hoffman tried to ski more conservatively than usual to secure points in 18th. Kikkan Randall placed 20th and Sadie Bjornsen was right behind in 21st in Saturday’s skiathlon at World Cup Finals in Falun, Sweden.
Alex Harvey rocked the 30 k skiathlon, executing a tried-and-tested strategy to a ‘T’ and staying out of the way of trouble. The Canadian won the penultimate race of World Cup Finals to put himself in podium contention for the overall World Cup, which would be the icing on his most successful season to date. Devon Kershaw placed 12th, and Ivan Babikov finished 23rd for Canada.
Two Weeks After International Debut, Hanneman Nabs PB’s at World Cup Finals; Diggins Also Close for U.S.
Reese Hanneman came within 0.45 seconds of becoming the third American man to make the World Cup heats this season, and Jessie Diggins was just over a second shy of qualifying in her first race back since getting sick post-Sochi. The two logged top-40 results again on Saturday, along with Ida Sargent, in the World Cup Finals skiathlons.
Norwegians Marit Bjørgen and Ingvild Østberg took the top two spots in the classic sprints in Sweden today, with Americans Kikkan Randall and Sophie Caldwell making the final heat. Randall walked away with the heavy crystal Sprint Globe from the overall World Cup sprint win, while Bjørgen is now only three points behind teammate Therese Johaug for the overall World Cup chamionship.
Late-Season Calculations Play into World Cup Strategies: Harvey Improves to Top 6 Overall, Hoffman Goes for Points
For many, the Holmenkollen 50 k freestyle mass start on Saturday was all about larger goals — not just the race itself. But to achieve those goals, one had to do well enough in the challenging six-lap race. Alex Harvey improved from 46th to 14th with that mindset, and Noah Hoffman put it all on the line for bonus points.
Teammates on the U.S. Ski Team and Alaska Pacific University, Kikkan Randall and Sadie Bjornsen tallied the best distance results of their respective careers on Sunday at Holmenkollen, the ultimate distance race of the season. Randall worked her way up and attacked late to finish 12th, and Bjornsen skied consistently with a pack of Norwegians to place 14th.
Daniel Richardsson of Sweden carefully waited until the last 800 meters to make his attack, winning the Holmenkollen 50 k. Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway led for much of the race, keeping the pace sky high. “I’ve never seen anything like that, where the best skier in the world decides to go not even 10 k into the race,” said Noah Hoffman.
How much skate skiing should be allowed in a classic sprint race? Quite a bit, if Wednesday’s race in Drammen, Norway was any indication. “I think classic skiing took a step backwards,” said USST Coach Matt Whitcomb. “I don’t think the line between what’s legitimate for classic technique was respected yesterday, and I think it opens a can of worms that makes the line very fuzzy now.”
Closing in on the finish it was Falla and Bjørgen neck and neck, with Nilsson gaining ground. At the line it was Falla’s foot that crossed before Bjørgen’s. Falla said after the race, “Marit [Bjørgen] and I train a lot together and Marit usually wins when we practice the finish. It is nice to beat her.”