FIS Cross-Country Tour de Ski Stage 1 in Val Müstair: Freestyle sprint
[UPDATED] After qualifying in fifth, eighth and ninth, respectively, Sophie Caldwell, Sadie Bjornsen and Jessie Diggins proceeded to represent the U.S. in the quarterfinals of the 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint in Val Müstair, Switzerland, on Saturday, along with a fourth U.S. woman, Kikkan Randall.
Randall turned 34 on Saturday and reached the heats for the first time this season, where she placed third in her quarterfinal for 15th overall. Caldwell was just ahead of her in 13th overall after finishing third in her quarterfinal and missing out on advancing as a lucky loser by one-hundredth of a second. Bjornsen placed fifth in her heat after leading it into the finishing stretch for 23rd overall, and Diggins rocketed all the way to the final, where she ended up sixth overall.
Diggins secured an automatic bid for the semifinals with a second place in her quarterfinal, behind eventual winner Stina Nilsson of Sweden. Nilsson won the qualifier to start the day in 3:28.28. (Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg qualified second (+1.28) and Switzerland’s Nadine Fähndrich qualified third (+2.34).)
Diggins met Nilsson again in the first semifinal, which Nilsson won by 1.04 seconds over Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla. Diggins finished third, 1.36 seconds back, and advanced to the final as a lucky loser with Switzerland’s Laurien van der Graaff, who placed fourth (+2.10) in that heat.
In the final, Diggins struggled with her positioning and ended up sixth, 7.64 seconds behind Nilsson in first. Nilsson took control early in the final and built a comfortable lead into the finish, with only Falla coming relatively close in second (+2.48). Norway took second, third and fourth with Heidi Weng in third (+6.47), and Kathrine Rolsted Harsem, who won a photo finish for fourth (+6.95), ahead of van der Graaff in fifth (+6.96).
In the qualifier, birthday-girl Randall make the top-30 cutoff in 29th (+10.77). Rosie Brennan was 2.66 seconds outside the top 30 in 35th (+13.91) and Liz Stephen finished 57th after coming back from illness. No Canadian women are competing in the Tour.
In the men’s 1.5 k skate sprint, Canada’s Alex Harvey reached the final after qualifying in 25th, 9.61 seconds behind eventual winner Sergey Ustiugov, of Russia, who won the qualifier in 3:01.24. Ustiugov went on to win his quarterfinal and semifinal, and outlasted his competition in the final with Italy’s Federico Pellegrino coming closest in second (+2.03). Norway’s Finn Hågen Krogh reached the podium in third (+2.8) ahead of fellow Norwegian Martin Johnsrud Sundby in fourth (+3.52). Behind them, France’s Lucas Chanavat placed fifth (+10.25) and Harvey finished sixth (+15.93) after slipping to the back of the pack early in the final.
Harvey won his quarterfinal and again automatically advanced in second in his semifinal, finishing 0.65 seconds back from Pellegrino in the semi. Like Diggins, Harvey is currently positioned in sixth heading into Stage 2 — 5/10 k classic mass starts — of the seven-stage Tour.
Two Canadians qualified for the heats with Len Valjas posting the 21st fastest qualifying time, 9.19 behind Ustiugov. Valjas went on to place 16th overall after finishing third in his quarterfinal.
American Simi Hamilton was the lone U.S. man to reach the heats after qualifying in 14th (+7.95). He went on to finish fourth in his quarterfinal for 18th overall.
Also for the U.S., Erik Bjornsen placed 64th and Noah Hoffman 76th in the qualifier. Canada’s Devon Kershaw finished 51st and Graeme Killick 57th.
Qualifying results: Women | Men
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- Alex Harvey
- Devon Kershaw
- Federico Pellegrino
- Finn Hagen Krogh
- Freestyle Sprint
- Graeme Killick
- Heidi Weng
- Ingvild Flugstad Østberg
- Jessie Diggins
- Kathrine Rolsted Harsem
- Laurien Van der Graaff
- Len Valjas
- Lucas Chanavat
- Maiken Caspersen Falla
- Martin Johnsrud Sundby
- Nadine Fähndrich
- Sadie Bjornsen
- Sergey Ustiugov
- Simi Hamilton
- Sophie Caldwell
- Stina Nilsson
- Val Mustair