Well, what else is there to say? The World Cup season is over, and in stunning fashion. After Justyna Kowalczyk and Petter Northug winning the sprints around the palace in Stockholm quite convincingly. That day, however, Emil Joensson and Kikkan Randall had some fun of their own, picking up the crystal Sprint Cup globes even if they didn’t win the day.
From there the circuit’s 50 fastest men and women moved to Falun for World Cup Finals proper, starting off with prologue races that were almost canceled due to an athlete protest (here’s the follow-up to that saga). Marit Bjørgen and Northug set the tone for a weekend of Norwegian dominance as they won the opening 2.5 k races; the U.S. women put three in the top eight and Andy Newell finished 16th, while Canada, in a bad omen for the rest of the weekend, limped home.
In the next day’s 10/15 k classic mass starts, the Norwegian women swept the top three spots, led by Bjørgen, while Eldar Rønning scored another victory for the team in red. While Bjørgen cruised to the overall victory in Sunday’s pursuit, Therese Johaug moved up behind her for second place. Rønning fell behind and instead Northug won for his second overall World Cup title, crossing the line just ahead of teammates Finn Hagen Krogh and Martin Johnsrud Sundby. The only non-Norwegian on the podium was Charlotte Kalla, who finished third in the women’s tour.
With strong racing over the weekend, Kikkan Randall secured third place in the overall World Cup standings and shared a podium with Kowalczyk – who had dropped out of Finals after it appeared that she had no chance of winning – and Johaug. Liz Stephen, Holly Brooks, Jessie Diggins, and Noah Hoffman also finished in the top 30 of the tour itself. Alex Harvey was the top Canadian, placing 25th at the end of the weekend.
From here, most of the Americans are returning home and some will be racing at Spring Series. Domestic racers tuned up at Canadian Nationals, where Caitlin Gregg won the 5 k classic, and at the Craftsbury Spring Tour, where Sophie Caldwell and Pat O’Brien won overall titles and Eric Packer also notched a victory in the sprint.
Speaking of Canadian Nationals: they have started up and will continue. While Gregg won the first women’s individual race and several other non-Canadians made themselves known at the top, two first-time winners claimed the Canadian titles on Sunday, with Paralympian and recent IPC World Champion Brian McKeever winning the men’s 10 k and Heidi Widmer the top Canadian in the 5 k at Whistler Olympic Park.
FIS World Cup Sprint, Stockholm, Sweden
FIS World Cup Finals, Falun, Sweden | results
Canadian National Championships, Whistler Olympic Park
Craftsbury Spring Tour, Craftsbury, Vermont
Friday prologue: results