Things got down to business in Val di Fiemme for the second week of World Championships, with only the classic races still on the schedule: interval start, relay, and marathon. Norway’s Therese Johaug and Petter Northug picked up titles in the 10 / 15 k freestyle races, while Ivan Babikov of Canada and Liz Stephen of the U.S. were fourth and fifth. Norway also swept the relays, unsurprisingly; the U.S. women had a history fourth-place finish. In the 30 k, Marit Bjorgen won yet another World Championship, but said this one was particularly meaningful (and Justyna Kowalczyk is probably particularly devastated to lose it). Finally, the Championships capped off with what has been called the greatest 50 k ever by Johan Olsson of Sweden, who broke away early and managed to ski alone for 35 k to the win.
Nordic combined racers were also still duking it out in Val di Fiemme, with a few unsurprising winners: Eric Frenzel continued his string of pre-Championships World Cup successes and won the individual large hill competition, while Jason Lamy Chappuis of France anchored the winning team sprint. For the U.S., there were no more fireworks like the bronze medal in the relay, but instead a collection of solid performances that left the team wanting just a little more. Billy Demong and Taylor Fletcher finished 15th and 17th in the large hill, then combined for sixth place in the team sprint, undone by a poor morning on the jumping hill.
IBU World Cup biathlon racing kicked off in Oslo with good omens for the Norwegian team: Tarjei Bø and Tora Berger won the opening sprints. While Berger continued her tear, sweeping th pursuit and mass start as well, two non-Norwegians got to meet King Harald V after their victories on Saturday and Sunday: World Cup leader Martin Fourcade of France after the pursuit and Czech Republic’s Ondrej Moravec, who got his first career win in the mass start. After a disappointing sprint for the entire American team, Tim Burke skied to fourth in the mass start.
In Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, a group of American skiers made it clear that they could cut it against the Europeans. Kate Fizgerald (APU) won on both tightly-contested days of racing, first tying with a Czech skier for the win in the 3.3 k prologue, then outsprinting Sophie Caldwell (SMST2) for victory in the 10 k classic pursuit. Rosie Brennan also hit the podium, placing third in the pursuit to give the Americans the sweep. American men were paced by Paddy Caldwell (SMS), fresh off a trip to Norwegian junior nationals, who placed fourth in the prologue and ninth in the pursuit; Stratton teammate Eric Packer finished tenth and twentieth.
While the World Championship marathon was technically held in Val di Fiemme on Sunday, another big-deal, long-distance race was taking place in Sweden: the Vasaloppet, one of the biggest marathons in the world and at 90 kilometers also one of the longest. In a battle of the titans Jorgen Aukland outdueled fellow former champions Daniel Tynell, Anders Aukland, and Jorgen Brink for the win; in the women’s race it was Norway’s Laila Kveli who skied to a large and surprising victory. While few Americans contested the race Canada had a strong presence, considering the distance from home, with Brian McKeever placing 45th and Andrea Dupont 11th.
Finally, on the home front, a couple more marathons were taking place. The 30 k Great Race from Tahoe to Truckee, a ripping mostly-downhill affair, was won by CXC’s Brian Gregg ahead of Far West Farm Team’s Spencer Eusden and Truckee’s Marcus Nash. Fellow Truckee resident Katerina Nash bested Farm Team’s Beth Taylor for the women’s win. In Maine, Harvard skier Akeo Maiseld-Carucci bested John Dixon of Colby over 50 kilometers while Robyn Anderson outsprinted VTXC teammate Lea Davison for the women’s win, nearly eight minutes ahead of the rest of the women’s field.
We also posted a video interview with newly-crowned World Champions Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins, and considered how to research interval training in the latest edition of our “This Month in Journals” series.
FIS Cross Country World Championships, Val di Fiemme, Italy | results
FIS Nordic Combined World Championships, Val di Fiemme, Italy
IBU World Cup, Oslo, Norway
Slavic Cup, Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic:
Vasaloppet, Salen-Mora, Sweden
The Great Race, Tahoe to Truckee, California
Rangeley Lakes Loppet, Rangeley, Maine
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.