FIS Cross Country World Cup (Lahti, Finland): 10/15 k classic
Racing at home in Finland, Krista Pärmäkoski picked a good time to collect the second World Cup victory of her career, and again in a 10 k classic. Pärmäkoski’s first win came in the 10 k classic in Planica, Slovenia, earlier this season.
In second was Russia’s Natalia Nepryaeva, who picked up her first World Cup podium. The current U23 standings leader, Nepryaeva’s time was 20.9 seconds slower than Parmakoski. Both she and Marit Bjørgen of Norway, who finished third (+26.7), used a steady pace to reach the podium. At the 5 k split, Heidi Weng of Norway – wearing the yellow bib of the overall World Cup leader – was in second at the halfway point but faded to finish fifth (+43.3), and Kerttu Niskanen of Finland was in third place but she dropped to fourth by the finish, +27.0. Austria’s Teresa Stadlober finished sixth (+52.4).
Sadie Bjornsen placed seventh (+57.6) to lead the American team. Caitlin Patterson was next, just missing the World Cup points in 32nd (+2:02.7). Ida Sargent and Sophie Caldwell finished 40th (+2:21.9) and 42nd (+2:24.2), respectively. Rosie Brennan finished 48th (+3:02.1) and SuperTour leader Kaitlynn Miller placed 51st (+3:09.1).
Liz Stephen of the U.S. Ski Team did not start due to illness.
Canada started only two women: Emily Nishikawa finished 41st (+2:22.2) and Dahria Beatty 44th (+2:40.7).
In the men’s race that followed, Alexey Poltoranin of Kazakhstan got some redemption after a major bonk in the Olympics 50 k last weekend, winning the 15 k classic individual start in Lahti.
Starting in the middle of the field in bib 44 (out of 71), Poltoranin paced it perfectly, skiing a steady race with some of the top split times and then turning it up another notch over the last several kilometers to take the win in 33:11.9 minutes. His biggest threat was Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov, who started 64th and clocked faster splits at every timing point throughout the three-lap race except the one that mattered most — the finish. There, Bolshunov came up 9.1 seconds short of Poltoranin’s time to place second, and Finland’s Iivo Niskanen — the Olympic 50 k champ — placed third, 20.9 seconds out of first.
Norway took fourth through seventh, with Emil Iversen in fourth (+28.8), Martin Johnsrud Sundby in fifth (+39.9), Niklas Dyrhaug in sixth (+50.1), and Johannes Høsflot Klæbo in seventh (+1:00.3). Russia’s Alexey Chervotkin placed eighth (+1:08.3), Germany’s Thomas Bing was ninth (+1:08.5) and Sweden’s Daniel Rickardsson finished 10th (+1:09.2).
Canada’s Devon Kershaw led the North Americans in 25th (+1:43.2), and Erik Bjornsen was the top American in 32nd (+2:06.6).
Four Canadian men raced, with Graeme Killick placing 39th (+2:22.9), Julien Locke 69th (+4:56.6) and Andy Shields 70th (+5:42.1).
The U.S. was represented by six men, with Noah Hoffman placing 40th (+2:24.0), Paddy Caldwell 45th (+2:40.5), Scott Patterson 50th (+2:58.7), Kevin Bolger 54th (+3:09.5), and David Norris 57th (+3:23.5).
The World Cup picks back up again this Wednesday with classic sprints in downtown Drammen, Norway.