DRAMMEN, NORWAY — Under a sunny sky
with cold, hard packed snow, the U.S. Ski Team’s
Kikkan Randall won her second straight sprint
World Cup, going head-to-head with Norway’s
top two sprinters on their home snow for the win.
Randall returned to competition on Feb. 20 in a
most impressive fashion by taking a 1.2K sprint
World Cup win in the final test before the Nordic
World Ski Championships.
Randall battled the best in the finals, including
Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla and Marit Bjo-ergen, as well as Ida Ingemarsdotter of Sweden,
to take the win. Randall extended her World Cup
sprint points lead over Arianna Follis of Italy.
“This is a great confidence booster today,” said
Randall. “I’m just really looking forward to finally
getting to the World Championships because I’ve
been thinking about it a lot for the last year or so.
I’ve raced well on that course at the end of last
season and this season all the sprints have been
going really well for me.”
The Alaskan started the day off with strong form
as she qualified in sixth position, 2.63 seconds
off the women’s leader Falla who set the pace in
Randall won her quarterfinal heat and then skied
a smart and tactical race in the semifinals, besting them all to take the win.
“It was a fun day up there, a really good atmosphere and lot of fans,” said Randall. “I just kept
feeling better and better. It ended up being a
In the men’s sprint competition, Sweden’s Emil
Joensson took the win over a fine showing by
Canadian skier Alex Harvey, with Petter Northug
of Norway third.
Newell qualified third, just 1. 6 seconds behind
the field’s No. 1 finisher, Joensson, who had the
top time in 3:00.3. Italy’s up-and-coming sprint
star, Federico Pellegrino, qualified second. Newell was impressive with fast skiing. Although in
the lead for much of his quarterfinal heat, he was
passed on the home straight and finished fourth.
He ended up 18th overall.
“Today wasn’t my best day, but I’m feeling strong
and healthy,” said Newell. “It was a very tactical
race and you definitely had to save something
for the long uphill finish. I chose to get out in front
which probably hurt me in the end. I feel like the
course in Oslo suits me much better.”