The giant Slovenian Petra Majdic made good use of her long legs on the final uphill stretch to win today's classic sprint in Drammen, Norway in front of tens of thousands of loud Norwegian fans.
Canadian Beckie Scott, coming off of a third place in yesterday's pursuit race in Sweden and 10th in the freestyle sprint the day before, was able to win both of her heats leading up to the final where she faced Majdic for the first time today. Also in the final were Justyna Kowalcyk of Poland and the veteran of veterans, Hilde G. Pederson of Norway, who finished second to Scott in the semifinal.
Hilde G Pedersen. Photo by Karl Saidla
Scott was gunning for the win and almost nailed it, coming in a half second behind Majdic to take the silver medal spot ahead of Pedersen. With this result, Scott continued to close the gap on overall World Cup leader Marit Bjoergen who finished 6 seconds behind Scott in the semifinal today for 9th place.
Scott also moved ahead of Bjoergen into second in the overall Sprint standings, and is only 32 points behind leader Ella Gjomle of Norway. As far as individual sprints go, there is only the Changchun, China freestyle left on the World Cup calendar this season.
Sara Renner of Canada qualified in 8th position going into the heats. Renner finished third in perhaps the toughest quarterfinal which included Bjoergen, yesterday's winner Evi Sachenbacher Stehle, and the third-fastest qualifier, World Sprint Champion Emelie Oehrstig of Sweden. Renner ended up 12th for the day.
Missing out on the heats were Kikkan Randall of team USA, who finished 5th in Tuesday's freestyle sprint, and the young Canadian, Chandra Crawford, of Olympic Gold medal fame. Crawford and Randall finished 38th and 39th, respectively, in the individual qualification round. Lindsey Williams was also competing for the US team, and finished 47th, about 7 seconds from a qualifying spot (30th.)
Full Results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=17899
You can also view results from each heat at the following link over the next day and a half: http://www.sportresult.com/sports/htm/cc/cc.htm