FIS World Cup Tour de Ski Stage 5 15 k/10k Freestyle Pursuit Oberstdorf, Germany
Today’s Tour de Ski (TdS) Stage 5 15-kilometer freestyle pursuit in Oberstdorf, Germany began and ended simply enough: Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo wearing the Tour’s blue leader’s bib started first with a 15 second lead over second overall skier Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov.
By 2 k into the race, the pair had linked up and ceded no time to the 63 chasers. Klæbo put in a burst of speed over the last hill and carried a several meter gap into the finish straight to win the pursuit in 35:07.5 minutes. Ustiugov placed second (+0.4), with his teammate Alexander Bolshunov third (+1:08.4).
Canada’s Alex Harvey, the best placed North American, was 22nd (+3:11.6). Lenny Valjas (CNST) placed 53rd (+8:10.6) and Bob Thompson 55th (+9:41.0).
Ben Lustgarten (CGRP) for the U.S., the only remaining U.S. male in the TdS, placed 54th (+8:38.2).
As the leader of the women’s TdS Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg never looked stressed in today’s 10 k skate pursuit. Østberg left the start with a 24 second lead over Russia’s Natalia Nepryaeva and beat her by 30.4 seconds for the win. Østberg won in a time of 26:21.2 minutes, Nepryaeva placed second, and the U.S. Ski Team’s (USST) Jessie Diggins was third (+1:12.6).
Diggins out-lunged Russia’s Yulia Belorukova across the finish line for a photo finish. Belorukova was 0.1 seconds behind Diggins as she placed fourth.
Diggins raced the fastest time of day on course, skiing the 10 k in 26:07 minutes.
Østberg retains the TdS leader bib, with a 35.4 second lead on second overall Nepryaeva, and a 1:22.6 minute lead on third overall Diggins.
Sadie Bjornsen (USST) placed 11th in today’s pursuit (+4:07.8). Bjornsen is also 11th overall in the TdS standings but will exit after today’s stage to focus on upcoming World Cups.
Canada’s Emily Nishikawa placed 30th (+7:26.1).
U.S. Cross-Country Ski Championships Craftsbury, Vermont 10 k/15 k Classic Interval Start
Today was the first day of racing at the U.S. Cross-Country Ski Championships in Craftsbury, Vermont. The women began with a 10-kilometer classic interval start race.
Caitlin Patterson (CGRP) won in a time of 30:44.7 minutes, while Jessica Yeaton (APU/Australian National Team) placed second in 31:05.5, and Kaitlynn Miller (CGRP) was third in 31:22.1.
Julia Kern (SMS-T2) was fourth overall and the third American in 31:33.9 minutes.
In the men’s 15 k classic race, Kyle Bratrud (SMS T2) won his third career national title. He stopped the clock in 41:41.8 minutes. Adam Martin (CGRP) placed second in a time of 42:12.8. Kris Freeman (Caldwell Sport), took third in 42:27.6. Freeman “retired” last season, but still remains in form and podium worthy.
U.S. Paralympics Nordic Nationals Craftsbury, Vermont
Also at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center on Thursday, the middle distance race was held for the first event at the Paralympic Nordic Nationals. Dan Cnossen won the race in 25:09.9 minutes. Cnossen is based outside of Boston but trains frequently in Craftsbury both as a sit-skier and biathlete.
“It was good, a really good course I thought,” Cnossen told FasterSkier in Craftsbury. “The grooming was good, but the conditions were a bit tough due to the snowfall. I love racing at Craftsbury, I’ve done the majority of my training in the last few years here. I think they undoubtedly put on the best venue. It is nice for me to come here. I am also a New England athlete.”
Asked about his tactics, Cnossen said the overnight snowfall changed his perception of the course.
“The course speed Yesterday during course inspection the conditions were a really fast and I was a little nervous about how it would go today but then with this snowfall it changed things a lot and I am a bit more of a climber and focus on that. Sometimes as sit skiers our poles sink a little deep in the softer snow so I was trying to pole in a light way, but not want to lose the power.”
Aaron Pike placed second, and Canada’s Yves Bourque was third.
In the women’s event, Oksana Masters won the 5 k race in 19:38.9 minutes.
“This was a fun course. …. Yesterday was a lot icier and then today it was definitely a lot softer but it was cool because there was still a lot of technical components which often doesn’t happen in para-sport or para-courses sometimes for nationals,” Masters said. “So that was cool. It had a lot of climbs, a lot of fun downhills.”
Kendall Gretsch was second, and Lyne Marie Bilodeau was third.