With his 10th place finish in Holmenkollen on Sunday, Andy Newell moved into 4th in the overall Sprint Cup standings.
He is now just two points behind Petter Northug (NOR), who did not race today. While Emil Joensson (SWE) has locked up the overall, Alexei Petukhov (RUS) in 2nd is still within striking distance, 17 points up.
There is only one sprint competition remaining – a classic city sprint Wednesday in Stockholm. As it is part of the World Cup Final, only half points are awarded for the individual race. Petukhov is not nearly as strong in classic sprinting, but as everyone knows, Northug is a force to be reckoned with.
Finishing in the top-3 in the Sprint Cup would be a major achievement – a feat that has never been accomplished by an American.
“My main goal is the Sprint Cup standings, and it feels pretty cool to be fighting it out for that. The standings are super tight right now, so I need to focus on having a good race in Stockholm. Just the excitement of chasing crystal globes [the prize awarded to overall World Cup, Sprint Cup, and Distance winners] is something you dream about as a kid.”
Added US Ski Team Sprint Coach Chris Grover, “We definitely are looking at that [Sprint Cup standings]. The top three overall in distance and sprint get recognized. It would be awesome ,so we will be doing everything we can to have a great classic sprint on Wednesday.”
Moving into the top-3 is hardly a foregone conclusion, and Newell will need to be on his game, and likely reach the finals.
“Things would have to go great [to end up in the top-3], but to be in 4th at this point of the season is pretty awesome for Andy,” said Grover.
Newell has had an excellent season, finishing in the top-10 five times, and in the World Cup points in every sprint start.
His one big disappointment came in the Olympics when he crashed out in the qualification round.
“The Olympics were obviously a disappointment, but the season in general has been a really positive season…From my perspective I’m really excited, and I’m more excited for Andy because we overtrained him last year,” said Grover.
“The World Championships were a disappointment, and the end of the season was such a disappointment for him. He was so tired he couldn’t even go to spring Nationals.
“We really had to be conservative with the training and recovery coming into this season, and he was very patient and he allowed himself to get back to a point where he was training well. It is not very often that someone can come back from being overtrained and be successful the next year. So I am super psyched that he was able to put it all together.”
Newell is also currently 16th in the overall World Cup standings.
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.