American Kikkan Randall and Canadians Perianne Jones, Stefan Kuhn, and Phil Widmer participated in an FIS sprint race in Grenoble, France. The freestyle sprint served as a tune-up for the athletes as no World Cup sprint will be held this weekend.
Earlier today FasterSkier erroneously reported that this event would be a team sprint. We apologize for the mistake.
Kikkan Randall sent the following after the race.
“It was a sweet venue. Grenoble is trying to win the bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics so they’re putting on big winter events to get everyone fired up! Apparently they spent for 1 million euros on this week’s events.
“The track was a 600m flat loop, we raced 2 laps for each round. Women went straight to semi-finals, while the men raced full quarterfinals. I qualified third but fell in both my semi-final and the B-Final. I think my final place was 8th or 9th. Perianne Jones fell in her qualifying round and didn’t advance. Stephan Kuhn and Phil Widmer both advanced to the quarterfinals. Phil made it into the A-final and was leading until the final 100m. He ended up 5th.
“It would have been a better night if I had stayed on my feet, I felt strong. Hopefully I got rid of all my bad luck and will be safe for the next World Cups!”
Oeystein Pettersen (NOR) took the victory in the men's sprint, headlining a small, but highly competitive field. Pettersen, a World Cup veteran, bested Robin Bryntesson (SWE) and Martin Jaeger (SUI). Other top names in the race included, Roddy Darragon (FRA) in 4th, Norweigans Ola Vigen Hattestad and Boerre Naess in 8th and 9th, and Bjoern Lind (SWE) in 12th.
In the women's race, Italian World Cup skier (and Canmore WC podium finisher) Magda Genuin skied to victory. Finland claimed the next two spots with Kirsi Eraelae in second and Mona-Lisa Malvalehto in third. Randall ended up 9th, immediately followed by former SuperTour champion Karin Camenisch (SUI) in 10th. Jones ended up in 14th.
The World Cup continues this weekend in La Clusaz, France, with a 15/30km freestyle mass start and a relay.
Kris Freeman will race the 30km on Saturday, and the US will not be fielding a team in the relay on Sunday as the sprinters will stay in Davos to train for the following weekend's World Cups.
Canada will have a team in the relay. Sean Crooks, Ivan Babikov, Kuhn and Devon Kershaw will race, though not necessarily in that order.
Babikov, along with teammate Sara Renner will also race on Saturday, Renner in the 15km and Babikov joining Freeman in the 30km. The two Canadians will have no time to adjust to Europe, as they fly into Geneva on Thursday.