Tour de Ski Stage 2 (Lenzerheide, Switzerland): 10/15 classic
For the second-straight day of the Tour de Ski, an American landed on the podium, with Sadie Bjornsen placing third in the women’s 10-kilometer classic individual start on Sunday in Lenzerheide.
For Bjornsen, it was her third individual podium of the season and first in a race longer than 5 k. She finished behind two Norwegians, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, who took the win in 26:59.4 minutes, and Heidi Weng, who was 25.7 seconds back in second.
Bjornsen was 42.2 seconds out of first and 6.7 seconds clear of Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen in fourth (+48.9). Sweden’s Anna Haag placed fifth (+52.6), Germany’s Nicole Fessel finished sixth (+58.2), and the second American in the top 10, Jessie Diggins in seventh (+1:04.4).
Switzerland’s Nathalie von Siebenthal placed eighth (+1:08.3) on home soil, just ahead of Germany’s Stefanie Böhler in ninth (+1:08.8), and Slovenian U23 skier Anamarija Lampič placed 10th (+1:08.9).
For Østberg, the win came two seasons after she won her very first distance World Cup race in Lenzerheide. With the win she leads the Tour standings by 32.8 seconds over Weng in second. Diggins is up to third overall (+1:04.9) and will start Monday’s 10 k freestyle pursuit accordingly, 1:05 seconds after Østberg, who will head out of the gate first.
Bjornsen is fourth overall (+1:15.4), just ahead of Russia’s Natalia Nepryaeva in fifth (+1:17.3) while Niskanen is another 15 seconds back in sixth (+1:32.0), and will start the pursuit with American Sophie Caldwell, who was second in Saturday’s Stage 1 skate sprint and ranks seventh overall (+1:32.0). Caldwell placed 21st on Sunday, 1:40.6 behind Østberg.
“It’s has been a huge goal of mine to be on the distance podium,” Bjornsen said, according to a FIS press release. “It felt really crazy out there today. At the 6.0 km I got the information I was in 2nd place. I had to ski a lot out of the track. I had to give everything I had in the last 2.5 km. I was little bit disappointed yesterday, I was hoping for more so today feels really great.”
The U.S. had five in the top 30 with Liz Stephen in 28th (+2:04.8) and Ida Sargent in 30th (+2:06.7). For Stephen, it was her first time in the points (top 30) this season. Rosie Brennan placed 38th (+2:20.5). Kikkan Randall did not start and thus withdrew from the Tour.
Dario Cologna rose to the challenge on Sunday, winning the second stage of the 2018 Tour de Ski for his first World Cup victory in three years.
The 31-year-old Swiss skier completed the men’s 15-kilometer classic individual start in 35:29.5 minutes, besting the time of Kazakhstan’s Alexey Poltoranin by 0.6 seconds to win in front of a home crowd in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Cologna started 62nd and sped up as the race progressed, clocking the fastest times from 6 k on. Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov started behind him in bib 68 and topped Cologna’s time at every checkpoint, skiing 7.4 seconds faster than him at 10 k. But over the final 5 k loop, Cologna prevailed and Bolshunov faded, with the Russian U23 skier finishing fourth, 14 seconds off Cologna’s winning time.
“It’s amazing, the first victory in Switzerland,” Cologna told Swiss broadcaster SRF. “I think it’s my 22nd [World Cup win], but the first one at home, which is very beautiful. And after a two-year break it really is a great satisfaction.”
Poltoranin started 27th and claimed his second podium of the season and first one of the tour, while Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby scored his first podium since early December. Sundby placed third, 13.1 seconds out of first. Russia had two in the top five with another U23 skier, Alexey Chervotkin in fifth (+16.2). Norway’s Hans Christer Holund was sixth (+21.2), Finland’s Iivo Niskanen seventh (+22.9), Italy’s Francesco De Fabiani eighth (+27.2), Norway’s Didrik Tønseth ninth (+37.1), and Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov 10th (+37.1).
Canada’s Alex Harvey placed 20th (+57.9) and slipped two places in the overall standings to ninth. Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov, who won yesterday’s Stage 1 skate sprint, still leads the standings while Cologna is up to second, just 1.6 seconds back heading into Monday’s freestyle pursuit in Lenzerheide. Bolshunov is third, 12.7 seconds back, Poltoranin fourth (+22.0), Finland’s Ristomatti Hakola fifth (+27.7), Sundby sixth (+39.1), Niskanen seventh (+46.4), Chervotkin eighth (+49.8), Harvey ninth (+53.8), and Holund 19th (+54.5).
In Saturday’s 15 k classic, Erik Bjornsen led the U.S. men in 27th (+1:22.4), Simi Hamilton finished 58th (+2:41.8), Andy Newell was 71st (+3:11.5), and Paddy Caldwell 75th (+3:36.2).
Eighty-five men finished the second stage of the Tour de Ski; Canada’s second man, Devon Kershaw, did not race on Sunday and withdrew from the tour due to illness.
Monday start lists: