US SuperTour (West Yellowstone, Montana): Freestyle sprints
Anne Hart and Nick Michaud were the big winners on opening day of the US SuperTour season at the Rendezvous Ski Trails on Saturday, taking individual victories in the women’s and men’s freestyle sprint finals, respectively.
Hart led into the finishing straight to take the win in 2:52.49 minutes, 0.88 seconds ahead of Erika Flowers, her teammate on the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) Elite Team, who placed second, and Kelsey Phinney, of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF))in third (+0.92).
Hannah Halvorsen, of Alaska Pacific University (APU) and the U.S. Ski Team D-team, finished fourth (+2.16), Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg) was fifth (+6.99), and Caitlin Patterson, of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project (CGRP), sixth (+7.22).
The win was Hart’s second on the circuit after winning a SuperTour 5 k skate two seasons ago. Last year in West Yellowstone, she placed third in the skate sprint (behind Jennie Bender, of the Bridger Ski Foundation, and Flowers, respectively).
Michaud, of the Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF), won the men’s final in 2:30.69 for his first SuperTour podium, just 0.17 seconds ahead of Ben Lustgarten (CGRP) in second and Reese Hanneman (APU) in third (+0.84). Rounding out the final, Kevin Bolger (SVSEF) finished fourth (+2.11), Ben Saxton (SMS Elite Team) fifth (+2.86), and Cole Morgan (SVSEF) sixth (+3.42).
On Sunday, the SuperTour continues with 10/15 k classic mass starts.
FIS Cross Country World Cup (Lillehammer, Norway): Classic sprints
American Sadie Bjornsen returned to the World Cup podium for the second time in as many classic sprints this season on Saturday, placing third in the women’s 1.3-kilometer classic sprint behind Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla in first and Finland’s Krista Parmakoski in second.
Bjornsen started the day by winning the qualifying round by one-hundredth of a second over Parmakoski and Russia’s Natalia Nepryaeva, which were listed as qualifying in second and third, respectively (despite having the same time).
The U.S. Ski Team (USST) member who placed second in last week’s classic sprint in Kuusamo, Finland, Bjornsen won the qualifier in 3:22.45 minutes. She went on to advance in second out of her quarterfinal and then won her semifinal by 0.46 seconds over Sweden’s Stina Nilsson — who beat her in last week’s sprint.
While Falla won Saturday’s final in 3:19.98 (after qualifying in fourth, then winning her quarterfinal and semifinal as well), Parmakoski followed in second overall (+2.07) and Bjornsen achieved her second podium of the season in third (+5.01). Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg was just behind in fourth (+5.28), Nilsson finished fifth (+6.09), and the second American in the final, Jessie Diggins was sixth (+7.81).
Diggins previously qualified in seventh, finished second in her quarterfinal then advanced as a lucky loser in fourth place out of her semifinal (which Falla won).
Three American women raced in the heats, with Sophie Caldwell qualifying in ninth and ultimately placing ninth overall. She advanced in second out of her quarterfinal then finished fifth in the semifinal behind Diggins.
Also for the USST, Rosie Brennan finished 33rd in the qualifier, missing out on the top 30 needed to qualify by 0.26 seconds. Kikkan Randall finished 42nd, Ida Sargent was 44th, and Chelsea Holmes 64th.
Canada started four women, with Emily Nishikawa placing 58th, Dahria Beatty 59th, Cendrine Browne 63rd, and Katherine Stewart-Jones 65th.
Klæbo Still Undefeated, Ustiugov 2nd
In the men’s 1.5 k classic sprint, Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo continued his undefeated World Cup streak with his fourth win in as many races this season.
He started off by winning the qualifier in 3:40.79, then his quarterfinal by 0.17 seconds over Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov. Klæbo and Ustiugov met again in the semifinals, where Ustiugov beat the Norwegian by 0.25 seconds, but in the final, where it really mattered, Klæbo again had the edge, winning in 3:33.88. Ustiugov finished 0.83 seconds back for second place, and Russia had two on the podium with Alexander Bolshunov in third (+1.29). Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson finished fourth (+1.64), and Norway had two more in the final with Emil Iversen in fifth (+8.2) and Sondre Turvoll Fossli in sixth (+17.3).
Canada’s Alex Harvey was the lone North American to qualify for the men’s heats after racing to 22nd in the qualifier, 11.89 seconds out of first. Harvey’s day ended in the quarterfinals, where he finished sixth, 3.06 seconds behind Norway’s Pål Trøan Aune in first. Norway’s Even Northug took second in that heat (+0.26), Finland’s Ristomatti Hakola was third (+0.36), Norway’s Håvard Solås Taugbøl fourth (+0.67) and France’s Maurice Manificat fifth (+1.72) in that heat. Overall, Harvey placed 28th on the day.
Erik Bjornsen was the top American man in 35th and missed qualifying by 1.06 seconds. Andy Newell finished 38th and Scott Patterson was 74th for the U.S. Ski Team.
Jess Cockney was the second Canadian man in 57th, Len Valjas followed in 59th, Julien Locke was 61st, Russell Kennedy 63rd, and Knute Johnsgaard 67th.
IBU World Cup (Östersund, Sweden): Men’s 10 k sprint
Norway’s 29-year-old Tarjei Bø wins his first World Cup race in four years and three Canadians land in the top 26, led by Scott Gow with a career-best 16th that puts him one step closer to securing his place on Biathlon Canada’s Olympic team. Of the nine men that cleaned the two-stage race, four of them were North Americans (Gow, American Lowell Bailey in 22nd, and Canada’s Nathan Smith in 24th and Christian Gow in 26th).