DAVOS, Switzerland — FasterSkier was on-site in Davos, Switzerland for the weekend of World Cup racing. With a classic 10/15 k individual start and a 1.3 k freestyle sprint, the world’s best gathered to demonstrate their capabilities as they shake off the early season cobwebs and enter into the bulk of the year’s racing.
Below are quotes that didn’t make it into our race reports from Sunday’s sprint races:
On the shorter 1.3 k sprint course…
“It’s so short that it’s pretty much a pure sprinter’s race. You saw that some of the distance guys had a hard time getting in there, so that left more room for the sprinters.”
– Lenny Valjas, Canada, who qualified 10th and ultimately finished 13th.
“It’s just a little shorter so you can afford to go at a little bit higher pace.”
– Andy Newell, USST, who qualified and finished his day in 15th.
“The race was quite short for me. It’s already a short course and they shortened it more this year. It’s about 100 meters shorter this year compared to last year. A two-minute sprint means the race is quite anaerobic for me. I did the best I could but I’m not good anaerobically.”
– Alex Harvey, Canada, who placed 45th in the qualification round.
“Last year it was great. I think these long flats are good for me. I prefer V2. I still need to figure out that short hill a little. My legs just flood, although that could be the altitude. But I do like the course here.”
– Sophie Caldwell, USST, who finished 22nd after qualifying in 23rd. Caldwell made the semifinals for the first time in a Davos sprint Dec., 2013.
Ida Sargent on her recent results…
“The second time [up the hill], I was just skiing a little frantic. I felt like I skied a really smooth qualifier, and not as smooth in the heat. It was still really fun. It was my best skate qualifier maybe ever, so I was really happy with that.”
– Sargent, USST, who qualified in 19th position and finished her day in 16th.
“I can relax, because I know I can be there. Even a day like today, I can tell that I was skiing with all those girls.”
– Sargent, on her fifth-place finish in Kuusamo, Finland in November.
Perianne Jones on the Canadian women’s team…
“It was really gratifying to see [Emily Nishikawa] do so well. We have been working together a bit so to see her work so hard and put it together was great to see. It’s been really fun this year to have the younger girls around. In the past I’ve been the youngest one so it is really positive for the program to see Emily do so well. It shows we are making progress and it is fun to have been able to have a small part in that.”
– Jones, Canada, who qualified 40th. Nishikawa earned her best-ever World Cup finish in Saturday’s 10 k classic with a 29th place finish.
“The plan is to bring over more Canadian women after Christmas and the Tour de Ski. It all depends on who is doing well back home. Hopefully they can get some races over here.”
– Jones, on the possible plan for the Canadian domestic women to join her and Nishikawa in Europe.
On Kikkan Randall’s slow start to the season…
“I’ve just been struggling with being sick and down all summer. And I was sick last week. I haven’t had a chance to really put myself through this format. The more I do it, the more I think my body will remember how. I’ll get there… Right now I just have to be really patient and smart. The big goal this year is February anyway. I have a lot of time between now and then.”
– Randall, USST, who qualified in 28th position and finished 20th. Earlier in December, Randall failed to qualify for the freestyle sprint for the first time since 2009 and is working to regain the racing shape that earned her two consecutive World Cup sprint title.
“As you heard Kikkan say, it was a step in the right direction for her. Not just in terms of the result, but in terms of when she tried to make a move out on the course something actually happened today. Versus her qualification efforts or distance pacing in the last couple of weeks, she just didn’t seem to have a response to moves she was trying to make. So we have to be patient. And we’re pleased that we’re moving in the right direction.
“That’s the cool thing about a team. We have a number of leaders on the team. In a sense, everyone is. But your top performer steps aside with some fatigue or whatever it is, and it seems almost without fail that somebody’s going to fill that spot. It’s just kind of naturally the way teams work and the way group dynamics work. So it’s not surprising for me to see some outstanding performances coming from other people. The window’s open. Kikkan doesn’t try to close it. She encourages her teammates to win, and she wants them to win.”
– Matt Whitcomb, USST Women’s Coach.
On USST expectations…
“It is something that we’re managing.”
– Matt Whitcomb, USST Women’s Coach