FIS Cross-Country World Cup (Ulricehamn, Sweden): 4 x 5 k and 4 x 7.5 k Relays
Norway notched back-to-back team victories in the women’s and men’s relays on Sunday at the World Cup in Ulricehamn, Sweden, with Finn Hågen Krogh securing a win in the men’s 4 x 7.5 k relay by 0.5 seconds over Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson and Canada’s Lenny Valjas. With two kilometers remaining, nine teams were within 3.8 seconds of first. Krogh outlasted both Halfvarsson and Valjas in the finishing stretch, as Sweden placed second and Canada third for its best-ever relay result, according to a Cross Country Canada press release, besting its fifth-place finish from 2012 (with then-anchor Ivan Babikov, now a Canadian World Cup coach).
Krogh teamed up with Simen Hegstad Krüger, Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Anders Gløersen and finished in 1:06:47.5, while Sweden placed second with Daniel Rickardsson, Johan Olsson, Marcus Hellner, and Halfvarsson.
For Canada, with Devon Kershaw, Alex Harvey, Knute Johnsgaard, and Valjas, it was Harvey’s third-straight World Cup podium, Valjas’s second-straight team-event podium, and national U25 Team member Johnsgaard’s first podium.
“I have been waiting my whole career for this,” Kershaw said, according to a FIS press release. “All the guys did a great job today.”
The U.S. placed 10th (+1:16.5) with Andy Newell, Erik Bjornsen, Noah Hoffman, and Simi Hamilton.
Earlier on Sunday, the women’s 4 x 5 k relay didn’t break apart until the second leg, but Norway still proved its dominance over the ski world with a win to start the day.
After the group of Ingvild Flugstad Østberg and Lotta Udnes Weng (Norway), Ida Ingemarsdotter (Sweden), and Anamarija Lampic (Slovenia) more or less stayed together on the first relay leg, Heidi Weng made a break for it, giving Norway a 16.8-second lead at the second tag. The Norwegian team never looked back and after the race Weng and teammates Østberg, Astrid Jacobsen, and Marit Bjørgen were able to climb to the top step of the podium.
The race for second place, though, wasn’t resolved until the finish line. Sweden, Slovenia, Norway’s second team, the United States, and Germany were all in contention at various points in the race.
On the last leg, Jessie Diggins of the U.S., Sandra Ringwald of Germany, and Hanna Falk of Sweden battled it out, dropping Kari Øyre Slind of Norway. The three shot to the finish line together, with Diggins stuck behind the other two. Ringwald eventually won the sprint finish by 0.2 seconds over Falk, with Diggins another 0.2 seconds back in fourth.
That gave Ringwald, Katharina Hennig, Stefanie Boehler, and Victoria Carl a second-place result, one of Germany’s best since taking silver at the 2010 Olympics. (The team won bronze at the 2014 Olympics.)
Ingemarsdotter, Falk, Charlotte Kalla, and Sofia Henriksson took the third step of the podium. Rosie Brennan, Sadie Bjornsen, Liz Stephen, and Diggins were left to settle for fourth.
The second U.S. team, of Kikkan Randall, Ida Sargent, Sophie Caldwell, and SuperTour leader Liz Guiney finished 12th after skiing in 8th and 9th earlier in the race.
IBU World Cup (Antholz, Italy): Men’s mass start and women’s relay
NorAm Western Canadian Championships (Whistler, B.C.): Relays
[UPDATED] This season brought a changeup to the Western Canadian Championships with a three-person relay event in response to athletes’ request to add “fun” events to the NorAm series.
While 146 teams finished in 17 categories, it was Ontario winning the open men’s 3 x 7.5 k in 50:32.9 (Bob Thompson, Jack Carlyle and Andy Shields) and B.C. dominating the open women’s 3 x 5 k in 41:09.47 with three juniors (Katie Weaver, Anna Goodwin and Hannah Mehain).
The masters men and juvenile girls categories included the most teams, with 15 and 14, respectively.
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup (Chaux-Neuve, France): Individual large hill/10 k
On Sunday, after the large hill jump and 10 k ski, Germany swept the podium in the second event of the NoCo World Cup in Chaux-Neuve, France. Fabian Rießle placed first in 22:44, and his German teammates Johannes Rydzek skied to second only 2.2 seconds back, and Saturday’s winner Eric Frenzel was third (+7.9).
(Frenzel leads the NoCo World Cup, Rydzek is second overall, Rießle is third.)
Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber flew the farthest with 139.8 points. Franz-Josef Rehrl from Austria jumped to second with 135.7 points while his teammate Bernhard Gruber jumped to third with 131.7 points.
Magnus faded to 23rd (+47.5) in the 10 k ski. Rehrl started 15 seconds back from Magnus and placed 17th overall (+31.5). Gruber maintained a top-ten, placing 9th (+13.5), after starting 32 seconds behind first place jumper Magnus.
While the top three jumpers all dropped back in the ski, it was a day of catch up for the German’s after the jumping portion.
Rießle ranked eigth after the jump and earned 128.7 points, he began the ski 0:44 back. Rydzek placed 11th in the jump with 126.9 points, while Frenzel jumped to fourth with 131.4 points.
The only U.S. skier entered in Sunday’s event was Ben Berend. The U.S. Nordic Combined skier jumped to 13th with 126.8 points — starting the ski 0:52 behind Magnus. Yet Berend couldn’t capitalize on his strong jump, he dropped to 37th (+2:06) after the ski.
The Nordic Combined World Cup continues next Friday in Seefeld, Austria.
U.S. SuperTour (Truckee, Calif.): 10 k/5 k free
Events cancelled due to weather.