Saturday Rundown: Otepää and Hochfilzen (Updated)

FasterSkierFebruary 18, 2017
The men’s 4 x 7.5 k relay podium at 2017 IBU World Championships on Saturday in Hochfilzen, Austria, with Russia (c) in first, France (l) in second, and Austria (r) in third. (Photo: IBU World Champs/Twitter)

IBU World Championships (Hochfilzen, Austria): Men’s relay

[UPDATED] Russia’s four-man relay team hit nearly every target on Saturday, using a total of just three spares to clean 40 targets, and stayed out of the penalty loop to capture gold in the men’s 4 x 7.5-kilometer relay at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Championships in Hochfilzen, Austria.

It was the last team event and the second-to-last day of the championships, with the men’s and women’s elite mass starts remaining on Sunday. Anton Shipulin anchored the Russians to first, 5.8 seconds ahead of France’s Martin Fourcade, after Shipulin cleaned his prone stage and used one spare in standing to hold onto the lead his team built. Fourcade cleaned both stages to secure silver for his team, and Austria took bronze (+20.1) with anchor Dominik Landertinger.

After Russia’s Alexey Volkov used one spare in each of his shooting stages and came through the exchange in seventh, Maxim Tsvetkov and Anton Babikov both cleaned without any spares to bring the team into fourth, then first, respectively.

France’s first leg Jean-Guillaume Béatrix shot clean as well and tagged Quentin Fillon Maillet in second. Fillon Maillet then needed one spare in prone, but cleaned standing to take the lead, tagging Simon Desthieux in first. Desthieux used three spares in prone, but avoided the penalty lap before tagging Fourcade in third, 12 seconds behind Austria in second. Fourcade closed the gap and clinched second, and France combined for a total of just four spare rounds.

Austria achieved bronze in front of a home crowd with Daniel Mesotitsch, Julian Eberhard, Simon Eder, and Landertinger combining for 10 spares and no penalties.

Finishing 8.5 seconds after Austria, Germany placed fourth. Italy was a minute and a half out of first in fifth, Ukraine took sixth (+1:41.3), and the U.S. placed seventh (+1:50.5) with Lowell Bailey, Leif Nordgren, Tim Burke, and Sean Doherty. Bailey initially put the team in fourth at the first exchange, 12.4 seconds out of first, then Nordgren tagged Burke in sixth, 17 seconds behind. Burke used four spares to clean and tagged Doherty in seventh, about a minute back. The Americans used a total of eight spares but had no penalties.

Canada finished 13th (+3:35.5) with Christian Gow, Scott Gow, Macx Davies, and Brendan Green. They were 39 seconds out of first and in 12th place after Christian Gow’s first leg, then slipped to 14th before Davies moved them back into 12th by the last exchange. Canada had a total of 10 spares and zero penalties.



FIS Cross-Country World Cup (Otepää, Estonia): Freestyle sprint

In the last World Cup before the upcoming 2017 International Ski Federation (FIS) Nordic Ski World Championships next week in Lahti, Finland, five U.S. women qualified in the top 12 of the women’s 1.3-kilometer freestyle sprint, and Jessie Diggins reached the final on Saturday in Otepää, Estonia.

Diggins started the day by placing 12th in the qualifier, 3.93 seconds behind Sweden’s Stina Nilsson in first (and her U.S. teammates Kikkan Randall in third, Sophie Caldwell in fourth, and Ida Sargent in 10th) before winning her quarterfinal and semifinal. In the final, Diggins wad gapped by the leaders on the final climb and finished fifth (+6.82).

The women’s freestyle sprint podium at the Otepaa World Cup on Saturday in Estonia, with Swedish winner Stina Nilsson (c), Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla (l) in second and Heidi Weng (r) in third. (Photo: FIS Cross Country/Twitter)

Nilsson won the final in a time of 2:49.96 minutes, just ahead of Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla (+0.27) who lost her balance and her speed with it on the last corner. The two had broken away from third place and Nilsson led into the final straightaway and held Falla off for the win. Norway took second through fourth with Heidi Weng in third place (+3.75) and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen in fourth (+4.91).

Randall initially finished her quarterfinal in third position and would have been out, but advanced when Russia’s Natalia Matveeva was relegated to last for obstruction. In the same semifinal as Diggins, Randall fell cresting a small hill over a tunnel and finished fifth (+13.30) for ninth overall on the day.

Caldwell placed second in her quarterfinal heat behind the day’s winner Nilsson, then stumbled halfway up a climb early in her semifinal, but stuck with the pack to finish fifth (+1.83) for 10th overall.

Sargent raced in the same quarterfinal as Falla and narrowly missed advancing to the semifinal in third place, fewer than 0.2 seconds behind Switzerland’s Laurien van der Graaff in second and 0.35 seconds behind Falla, who won that heat. Sargent placed 13th on the day.

Sadie Bjornsen qualified 25th and finished fourth (+2.82) in the same quarterfinal as Randall for the 25th overall.

Canada’s Dahria Beatty also qualified for the sprint heats in 30th place, and finished sixth in her quarterfinal for 29th overall.

Also for Canada, Cendrine Browne finished the qualification in 48th place and Katherine Stewart-Jones was one position behind in 49th.

Also for the U.S., distance specialists Chelsea Holmes and Rosie Brennan placed 58th and 60th, respectively.

The men’s freestyle sprint podium on Saturday at the World Cup in Otepaa, Estonia, with Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (c) taking his first World Cup win, Norway’s Finn Hågen Krogh (l) in second, and Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov (r) in third. (Photo: FIS Cross Country/Twitter)

In the men’s 1.6-kilometer sprint, Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo achieved the first World Cup victory of his career in a time of 3:06.53 minutes, holding onto a lead he had created with an attack right out of the start gate in the final. His teammate Finn Hågen Krogh placed second (+0.60), taking the inside lane in the last turn to push reigning Tour de Ski winner Sergey Ustiugov of Russia to third (+1.0).

For the North Americans, it was a day of narrow misses.

For the U.S., Simi Hamilton started his race day by qualifying in seventh position, and placed second in his quarterfinal. He then closely missed out on the final after placing fourth in his semifinal in a four-way sprint photo finish (+0.33), just 0.04 seconds behind the third place and lucky loser time of Norway’s Håvard Solås Taugbøl, who advanced. Hamilton ended the day in  eighth overall.

Canadian World Cup Team member Alex Harvey snuck into the sprint heats in 29th place in the qualifier, then just missed out on advancing from his quarterfinal in a photo finish for second with Great Britain’s Andrew Young, who took it by 0.04 seconds. Harvey finished third in that heat, 0.6 behind Italy’s Federico Pellegrino, for 15th for the day. Young went on to finish sixth in his semifinal for 12th overall, and Pellegrino advanced as a lucky loser from the same semifinal and was fourth in the final (+4.77).

American Andy Newell qualified 16th and finished sixth (+1.89) in his quarterfinal for 27th overall.

Canada’s Len Valjas missed qualifying for the heats in 40th place, as did his teammate Devon Kershaw in 50th.

American Erik Bjornsen was 53rd, and for Canada, Jesse Cockney 54th and Knute Johnsgaard 56th. In his World Cup debut, Benjamin Lustgarten placed 64th in the qualifier.

Results: Women | Men


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