Petra Majdic (SLO) told reporters that she has been practicing shooting her foot at the line over the past two weeks. Today that work paid off when she beat out Astrid Jacobsen (NOR) in a photo finish in the women's World Cup Sprint in Canmore. The two were neck and neck for the entire 200+ meter gradual uphill to the finish, but it was the tall Slovenian who topped the podium. “It was a perfect race for me today,” she said.
Jacobsen, the World Cup Sprint leader, held that top spot today and was satisfied with her second place result.
Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) followed up her victory in yesterday's pursuit with a third place in the sprint – her first time on the podium in a classic sprint. Virpi Kuitunun (FIN) was fourth – after winning the qualifying round and looking very strong in the early heats. Teammate Pirjo Muranen was 5th and Alena Prochazkova (SVK) took the final spot in the women's A final.
Racing was fast and furious with several photo finishes and many races contested down to the final meters. The long gradual uphill finish stretch created the opportunity for skiers to move up at the end. This was definitely a day when strong double poling was a must.
Canadian Chandra Crawford qualified in 25th and advanced to the women's B-finals. Crawford was strong through the first two rounds, starting aggressively and battling hard to advance. She was clearly out of gas for the final run of the day and faded to 12th after another good start.
Sara Renner, also of Canada, was unable to advance out of the quarterfinals. Renner held a solid third heading into the last third of the course, but faded on the home stretch. She still finished an excellent 14th on the day.
No American women qualified for the heats. Kikkan Randall finished just out of the running in 33rd.
Madjic and Jacobsen both struggled during the Tour de Ski and seemed especially pleased to be back on track.
41. Laura Valaas
45. Lindsay Williams
51. Kate Arduser
59. Lindsey Dehlin
36. Perianne Jones
39. Sarah Daitch
44. Shayla Swanson
49. Kate Brennan
50. Andrea Dupont
52. Alysson Marshall
54. Hannah Perry
55. Heidi Widmer
56. Karla Mika
57. Rhonda Jewett
58. Megan McTavish
Petra Majdic leads heat to the line