FIS Nordic World Championships (Lahti, Finland): Women’s 30 k freestyle mass start
Marit Bjørgen made it a four-peat on Saturday with her fourth gold and third individual win over the last week at 2017 Nordic World Championships in Lahti, Finland. (She previously won the 15-kilometer skiathlon, 10 k classic, and 4 x 5 k relay.)
The 36-year-old Norwegian closed out the championships with a 1.9-second victory in the women’s 30-kilometer freestyle mass start, finishing in 1:08:36.8 hours after setting the pace and leading a large group for much of the race. The group began to separate around 15 k, where it was down to 13 women with five seconds of first. At that point, Americans Jessie Diggins and Chelsea Holmes were within that lead pack.
While Holmes started to fall off the pace around 16 k, Diggins stuck with the leaders to the very end, only until four Norwegians broke away to race for the medals over the final kilometer.
With Bjørgen still charging hard up front, her teammates Heidi Weng, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, and Ragnhild Haga followed, while Finland’s Krista Pärmäkoski trailed another second back in fifth and Diggins was one more second behind in sixth.
Bjørgen led the downhill into the stadium and skied away from her teammates before the finishing stretch, leaving Weng and Jacobsen to duke it out for second place. Weng got it by less than one-hundredth of a second, Jacobsen took bronze (+1.9), and Haga completed the Norwegian top-four sweep in fourth (+7.4).
Diggins passed Pärmäkoski and notched fifth (+10.4) for her career-best 30 k result. Pärmäkoski placed sixth (+11.3), Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla finished seventh (+13.9), Austria’s Teresa Stadlober was eighth (+15.5), Sweden’s Anna Haag ninth (+20.3), and Russia’s Yulia Tchekaleva 10th (+1:20.9) after edging Switzerland’s Nathalie von Siebenthal in a photo finish. Germany’s Stefanie Böhler placed 12th (+1:23.5) and Holmes finished 13th (+1:28.1) for her career best.
U.S. Ski Team member Liz Stephen placed 25th (+3:09.4), 6.6 seconds ahead of Canada’s national U25 Team skier Cendrine Browne, who notched a career best 26th (+3:16) in her first World Championships.
Holmes’s Alaska Pacific University (APU) teammate Jessica Yeaton, who races for Australia, finished 33rd (+4:32), Canada’s Dahria Beatty was 34th (+4:45.2), and American Caitlin Gregg 36th (+5:03.7).
Great Britain’s Annika Taylor, a California native, placed 38th (+6:19.4). Canada’s Emily Nishikawa was 40th (+6:41.5) and Katherine Stewart-Jones 41st (+7:18.6), and Brazil’s Jaqueline Mourão, who trains in Quebec, was 46th (+13:44.6) out of 47 finishers.
IBU World Cup (PyeongChang, South Korea): Women’s and men’s pursuits
Coming off a fifth place in Thursday’s 7.5-kilometer sprint, Susan Dunklee held her position despite three penalties in the women’s 10 k pursuit on Saturday to finish fifth again at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier racked up her second-straight win in as many races in PyeongChang (and sixth-straight, counting World Championships), finishing in 27:58.0 minutes with clean shooting. She was just one of four women out of 58 finishers that hit all 20 targets in Saturday’s four-stage race.
Finishing more than a minute later, Finland’s Kaisa Mäkäräinen placed second (+1:12.6) after starting fourth based on her sprint result. Mäkäräinen had two penalties, both in the first standing, but cleaned the other three stages (0+0+2+0). France’s Anais Bescond raced up from eighth at the start to third place (+1:18.9) at the finish, with a single penalty (0+0+1+0), while Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff missed her second-straight podium in fourth place (+1:32.0) after starting second but accumulating five penalties (1+2+1+1).
Eckhoff edged Dunklee, of the U.S., by half a second as Dunklee placed fifth (+1:32.5) with three misses (1+1+0+1).
Canada’s Rosanna Crawford rose from 30th to 19th (+2:49.1) for her best non-relay result of the season, with two penalties (1+1+0+0). Her teammate Megan Tandy also landed her first top 30 of 2016/2017 in 30th (+3:26.2) with two misses (1+0+1+0) after starting 39th. Also for Canada, Julia Ransom finished 44th (+4:18.4) after starting 41st and skiing four penalty loops (1+0+1+2).
Also for the U.S., Clare Egan finished 36th (+3:41.9) with three clean stages but three misses in her first standing (0+0+3+0), after starting 33rd. Joanne Reid slipped from 35th at the start to 52nd (+4:53.4), with five penalties (1+1+0+3).
[UPDATED] One day after locking up the overall World Cup title, Martin Fourcade was back at the top of the podium in the men’s 12.5 k pursuit in PyeongChang.
Fourcade started third, after finishing third in Friday’s sprint, then shot clean to win in 31:24.2. Russia’s Anton Shipulin, who started 23rd, also shot 20-for-20 to race up to second place, 34.5 seconds behind Fourcade, with the fifth-fastest course time. In comparison, Fourcade’s course time was third fastest.
Friday’s sprint winner, Julian Eberhard of Austria finished third (+36.7) after skiing three penalty loops (0+2+0+1). His teammate Simon Eder placed fourth (+1:03.2) after starting eighth and cleaning three stages before missing two on the last standing (0+0+0+2).
Russia’s Evgeniy Garanichev improved from ninth at the start to fifth (+1:09.5) with two penalties as well (0+1+1+0). France’s Simon Desthieux was sixth (+1:13.5), Austria’s Dominik Landertinger seventh (+1:20.3), Germany’s Benedikt Doll eighth (+1:20.4) with the fastest course time after starting 20th.
American Lowell Bailey was another 0.2 seconds back in ninth (+1:20.6), just ahead of Italy’s Lukas Hofer in 10th, who finished with the same time. Bailey previously tallied the third podium of his career on Friday, placing second in the sprint, but had two penalties on Saturday (1+0+1+0) to slip to ninth.
Also for the U.S., Leif Nordgren improved to 28th (+2:28.9) after starting 37th and shooting 19-for-20 (0+0+0+1).
Christian Gow shot clean to lead Canada in 32nd (+3:17.4), up from 56th at the start. His older brother Scott Gow slipped from 27th at the start to 43rd (+4:05.9) with five penalties (0+1+1+3), and Brendan Green followed in 44th (+4:09.8) with three penalties (2+1+0+0) after starting 28th.