Last weekend’s World Cup openers provided plenty of excitement, with sprint finishes for podium spots and history made by the U.S. women. Well, week two kept the ball rolling – Petter Northug got passed in a sprint finish, the U.S. women continued to impress, and Jean Philippe Le Guellec won Canada’s first biathlon World Cup. On the home front, Canada hosted its first NorAms and doled out World Cup starting positions, and the U.S. divided up theirs based on two sprints and a distance race in Bozeman, Montana.
With our new website layout, it should be much easier to find the articles you’re looking for. But in case you missed this weekend, here’s a recap of all the happenings, plus links to reporting and results.
In Kuusamo, Finland, Marit Bjørgen of Norway swept through the three-day mini-tour with nary a care and took a sizeable victory; frequent rival Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland redeemed a disastrous start to the season by striding her way to second in the final pursuit. Norway’s Northug took the men’s title, but it was Russians Nikita Kriukov and Alexander Legkov winning the sprint and skate races.
North American women did well in the sprint, with Ida Sargent leading the way in ninth and Canada’s Perianne Jones and Dasha Gaiazova both making the top ten; Sargent’s American teammate Kikkan Randall placed tenth before earning her second distance podium on Saturday. Jessie Diggins, Liz Stephen, and Holly Brooks also made the top 20 in the skate race, and all five American women finished the mini tour in the top 25. Simi Hamilton and Andy Newell made the rounds in the men’s sprint, Alex Harvey and Noah Hoffman hit the top 20 in the men’s skate, and Canada’s Devon Kershaw and Ivan Babikov joined those two in the top 30 at the end of the tour.
Also in Kuusamo, Jason Lamy-Chappuis of France reasserted himself in the nordic combined large hill competition, but it was Austria that eked out the win in the team competition on Sunday. Bryan Fletcher led the U.S. with 14th place in the large hill, then teamed up with brother Taylor to ski to ninth in the relay.
FasterSkier was on-site in Östersund, Sweden, where the biathlon World Cup continued with a narrow victory by Martin Fourcade of France on Wednesday and then a huge one by Tora Berger of Norway on Thursday. Berger swept all three individual races and is out to a huge lead in the World Cup standings; Fourcade was once again on top after Sunday’s pursuit, but his party was broken up by an 18-second victory by Le Guellec in Saturday’s sprint. Otherwise, North Americans were best represented by his teammate Zina Kocher placing tenth on Saturday and American Tim Burke 15th on Sunday.
In Bozeman, Sophie Caldwell of SMS-T2 won a sprint in heats this time, not just a qualifier as in West Yellowstone, and collected a World Cup start in compensation. Sadie Bjornsen (USST/APU) picked up the other sprint win as well as Sunday’s classic mass start, leading a strong showing by APU; Reid Pletcher (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) and Reese Hanneman (APU) split the men’s sprints, before University of New Mexico racer Mats Resaland topped them in the mass start. World Cup starts have been announced based on the results from the last two weeks.
NorAm action kicked off in Canmore, where Canada was also set to dole out their Nations Group spots for the next two weeks of World Cup racing. The races were made more exciting by several World Cup teams who were already in town preparing for World Cup racing on the continent: Bettina Gruber of Switzerland won the women’s sprint on Saturday, while her teammates Eligius Tambornino, Jovien Hediger, Christoph Eigenmann, and Jori Kindschi swept the top four spots in the men’s race. Andrea Dupont and Phil Widmer were the top Canadians in the respective racs. In Sunday’s distance competitions, Canadians landed on top on home turf with Graeme Killick (Alberta World Cup Academy) and Brittany Webster (Highlands Nordic) taking the wins.
Kuusamo cross country: results
Bozeman SuperTours: results
Chelsea Little is FasterSkier's Editor-At-Large. A former racer at Ford Sayre, Dartmouth College and the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, she is a PhD candidate in aquatic ecology in the @Altermatt_lab at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. You can follow her on twitter @ChelskiLittle.