U.S. Cross Country Championships (Soldier Hollow): 10 k skate
[UPDATED] Don’t bet against Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg) in a distance skate event. The 36-year-old took another national title in the 10-kilometer freestyle individual start at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah, earlier today in the first event of the 2017 U.S. Cross Country Championships. Gregg’s winning time was 27:00.6 on a cold, slow-snow morning at SoHo.
Chelsea Holmes (Alaska Pacific University) was second, 2.2 seconds back, with Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) third (+14.5). Katharine Ogden (Stratton Mountain School, +20) was fourth, Becca Rorabaugh (APU, +58.4) fifth, and Rosie Frankowski (APU, +1:05) sixth to round out the extended podium.
In the men’s 15-kilometer freestyle event, Central Cross Country Ski Association’s Kyle Bratrud took first in a time of 34:52.0. Second place wen tot Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s Tad Elliott finished in a time of 35:14.6, while University of Denver’s Mori Madelaner (+35:22.4) rounded out the podium in third. Patrick Caldwell of Stratton Mountain School was seven tenths of a second out of third place in fourth overall (the third American on the day) in a time of 35:23.1. Fifth went to Kris Freeman of Team Freebird in a time of 35:28.0.
IBU World Cup (Oberhof): 10/12.5 k pursuits
[UPDATED] In the men’s 12.5 k pursuit on Saturday in Oberhof, Germany, France’s Martin Fourcade got back to his winning ways, shooting 19-for-20 (0+1+0+0) on a cold and gusting afternoon for a 1:09.9-minute victory in 36:45.7. He started eighth.
Germany’s Arnd Peiffer started 15th and finished second with three penalties (0+0+1+2), and for the second-straight race, Italy’s Dominik Windisch placed third (+1:32.4), with five misses. Windisch was just 0.2 seconds ahead of Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen in fifth (+1:32.6), also with five penalties (1+1+2+1).
Tim Burke (US Biathlon) raced to 26th (+3:18.9) after starting 35th, with four penalties, all in standing (0+0+2+2). Also for the U.S., Russell Currier placed 34th (+4:29.8), up from 46th at the start, with five penalties (2+0+1+2).
Canada’s Scott Gow finished 45th (+5:45.7) with seven misses (1+1+2+3).
No North American men are listed on the provisional start list for Sunday’s 15 k mass start.
In the women’s 10 k pursuit that followed, France made it a double on the day with Marie Dorin Habert taking a 38.8-second victory in 34:33.3. She started third and had two penalties (1+0+0+1) en route to the win, ahead of Friday’s sprint winner Gabriela Koukalova of the Czech Republic in second, with two clean stages followed by three misses (0+0+1+2).
Finland’s Kaisa Mäkäräinen started second and ended up third (+1:19.1) with four penalties (1+0+1+2) amid blustery conditions in Oberhof.
Canada’s Rosanna Crawford finished 22nd (+3:47.9), one spot down from starting 21st, with four penalties (0+1+1+2).
For the U.S., Susan Dunklee placed 44th (+6:20.4), up from starting 50th, despite nine misses (1+3+4+1). Clare Egan finished 49th (+7:25.6) after starting 52nd, with seven misses (4+0+0+3).
Dunklee was listed as the lone North American starter in Sunday’s 12.5 k mass start, as she is currently ranked 17th overall in the IBU World Cup. Crawford is next in line on the “reserve standby athletes” lists by her event results of the week, should another qualified athlete have to cancel (e.g. due to illness).
FIS Cross-Country Tour de Ski Stage 6 (Val di Fiemme, Italy): 10/15 k classic
Russian Sergey Ustiugov’s Tour de Ski winning streak came to an end on Saturday at the penultimate stage of the seven-stage Tour, with Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby breaking away on the final 2.5 k lap to win the men’s 15-kilometer classic mass start at Stage 6 in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Ustiugov had to outlast a chase pack to settle for second, 2.2 seconds behind Sundby, who won in 40:40.0. Finland’s Matti Heikkinen reached the podium in third (+2.8), ahead of Italy’s Francesco de Fabiani in fourth (+3.2), Russia’s Andrey Larkov in fifth (+3.3), Norway’s Niklas Dyrhaug in sixth (+3.5), Switzerland’s Dario Cologna in seventh (+3.8), and Russia’s Alexander Bessmertnykh in eighth (+3.9). Behind Heikkinen, the fourth- through eighth-place finishers were all within 1.1 seconds of the stage podium.
Canada’s Alex Harvey ended up 19th (+38.7) after losing seconds to the leaders on the second half of the course. He finished ahead of teammates Devon Kershaw in 27th (+1:12.1) and Graeme Killick in 32nd (+1:31.0).
For the U.S., Noah Hoffman scored points for the second-straight day in 30th (+1:17.1). Erik Bjornsen crashed on an early downhill and dropped out of the race around the halfway point.
Ustiugov previously built a more than 1 1/2 minute lead in the Tour, so he remains 1:11.9 minutes ahead of Sundby in the overall with one stage (the 9 k final climb) to go. Cologna remains in third (+2:04.1), Heikkinen is fourth (+2:32.9), France’s Maurice Manificat fifth (+2:34.6) after finishing 13th on Saturday, and Harvey slipped from fourth to sixth overall (+2:42.5), ahead of Sweden’s Marcus Hellner, who finished 10th for seventh overall (+2:54.5).
Kershaw is 23rd overall (+7:19.1), Hoffman 30th (+9.42.7), and Killick 37th (+11:25.1) heading into the final stage.
In the women’s 10 k classic mass start to start the day, Stina Nilsson of Sweden won her fourth stage of this year’s Tour, racing aggressively from start to finish and picking up extra bonus seconds along the way.
Nilsson pushed the hills late and nobody from the already-fractured main pack could keep up. She notched a 3.0-second win over Anne Kyllönen of Finland, who collected her first individual podium of the season. Charlotte Kalla joined her Swedish teammate on the podium in third (+3.7), also her first podium of the year; she had been fourth in the 5 k freestyle the day before in Toblach, Italy.
Krista Parmakoski of Finland was fourth, +9.4, Teresa Stadlober of Austria fifth, +10.1, and Yulia Tchekaleva of Russia sixth, +10.5.
With the bonus seconds that Nilsson picked up along the way, she stole the overall Tour de Ski lead from Norway’s Heidi Weng, who finished seventh (+17.5). Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, also of Norway, had been in second place but slipped even farther. After leading at the start of the race, she slipped through the pack and then off the back, crossing the line 18th (+1:08.5). She is now fourth in the Tour de ski, behind Parmakoski.
Jessie Diggins of the U.S. skied to eighth place (+19.5) and retained her fifth place overall Tour standing. Teammate Liz Stephen raced to 19th (+1:11.2), and moved into the top 20 of the Tour standings for the first time. Rosie Brennan scored points again in 28th (+2:06.1).
FIS Cross-Country OPA Cup (Planica, Slovenia): 10 k classic
[UPDATED] A quartet of American sprinters turned to distance classic skiing, placing as high as fifth, in 10-kilometer classic interval start races at the OPA Cup in Planica, Slovenia, earlier Saturday.
U.S. Ski Team member Simi Hamilton posted the day’s best result for the Americans, finishing fifth in the men’s race, 13.8 seconds back from winner Jean Tiberghien of France. Hamilton, who started in the final third of the 110-skier field, worked his way into the race, placing 14th at the 3.8 k mark and seventh at 7.5 k before moving up into fifth by the finish. His teammate and the other American in the race, Andy Newell, placed 58th, 1:30.7 back, finishing strong after placing 67th at the 7.5 k time checkpoint.
Mickael Philipot (+2.0) and Valentin Chauvin (+8.6) rounded out the all-Gallic podium.
In the women’s race, Ida Sargent (USST) was the leading American in 17th. She finished 1:10 behind winner Sara Pellegrini of Italy. Sargent likewise worked her way into the race, placing 26th and 18th at intermediate checkpoints before moving up to 17th by the finish.
Three places and less than ten seconds back, Sophie Caldwell (USST) finished 20th, 1:19.7 back of Pellegrini. Caldwell started out somewhat faster than the three other Americans who raced today, placing as high as seventh at the first checkpoint.
The final podium, reminiscent of the 2006 World Cup soccer final, was Pellegrini in first, Italian Caterina Ganz in second (+7.6), and Delphine Claudel of France in third (+14.6).
Conditions in Planica were clear and cold and just a few degrees above the FIS-legal cutoff, with race-time temperatures between 3° F and 5° F.
Racing in Planica concludes tomorrow with interval start 10 and 15 k classic races, replacing the 7.5/15 k skiathlon that was originally scheduled.