Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) won his third consecutive World Cup sprint, edging teammate Tor Arne Hertland in the men’s 1.5 kilometer freestyle sprint in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Hattestad has marked himself as the top sprinter in the world, currently leading both the Srint Cup and the overall World Cup. The 26-year old qualified in 8th position.
“I’m just happy today. I have no words for my performances,” said Hatestad. I am like on a wave. It is great to get the yellow bib – really a dream comes true. I will now skip the Tour de Ski and concentrate me on my next World Cup races, which will probably be in Otepaepae.”
Hetland, one of the great veteran’s of World Cup sprinting brought home his second silver position of the season. He beat out Fabio Pasini and another well known name, Christian Zorzi, both of Italy.
“For sprinting Düsseldorf is really good. On this track you can overtake whenever you want – there are many opportunities. The snow was really good. Even when it was raining, the track was good,” said Hetland. “I am in my preparation for the Tour and looking forward to it. I am in a good shape and have enough power – I am ready for the Tour!”
Pasini claimed his first World Cup podium. A result that was also his first top-10 finish. He competed against his brother Renato who finished 10th.
“I was an amazing competition. It is my first time on a World Cup podium. It is great to compete together with my brother in the World cup race – for the first time today I am better ranked than him.”
Fabio is the younger of the two by three years.
Andy Newell continues to show impressive speed, winning the qualifying round by .27 seconds over Roddy Darragon (FRA). Last week Newell qualified in third. He clearly has the speed and fitness to handle both classical and freestyle events, as well as the longer course formats. Unfortunately, Newell was unable to advance to the A-Final and finished 11th on the day.
“Andy won the qualification and won his quarter-final, too. But in the semi-final he got tangled and spun around backwards,” US Sprint Coach Chris Grover said.
Newell suffered similar misfortune last week in Davos when his skis slipped out from under him near the finish of the quarterfinal lap, eliminating him from the race.
“The day started out well, but ended up not being the best,” Grover said.
Torin Koos, the lone other American starter finished 40th, 1.21 seconds out of the top 30, and 7.86 seconds behind Newell.
Canada was also only able to qualify one athlete. Phil Widmer finished 19th after qualifying with the 15th fastest time.
Sean Crooks finished 37th, less than a second out of the heats with teammate Stefan Kuhn rounding out the Canadian entries in 53rd.
With no snow anywhere but on the course, athletes had to run or spin on a bike to recover between heats.
World Cup action continues tomorrow with a freestyle Team Sprint event.