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Nilsson Nabs Another Sprint Title in Planica; Diggins 4th, Caldwell 9th

The women’s classic sprint podium on Saturday in Planica, Slovenia, with Sweden’s Stina Nilsson (c) in first, and Norway’s Kathrine Rolsted Harsem (l) in second and Maiken Caspersen Falla (r) in third. (Photo: FIS Cross Country/Twitter)

PLANICA, Slovenia — With the Julian Alps and Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak, as a backdrop, it’s suitable to say the Planica Valley nordic course can be summed up in one word: burly.

A high mid-afternoon sun had illuminated the mountain range throughout the rounds for the World Cup women’s 1.4-kilometer classic sprint on Saturday, but by the time the six finalists lined up for the final heat, a few shadows were being recast onto the course.

At the sound of the gun, Sweden’s Stina Nilsson took the lead into the first downhill. Norway’s Kathrine Rolsted Harsem followed close behind. Maiken Caspersen Falla, also of Norway, dangled to the far right, while American Jessie Diggins hugged tightly to the inside left, just ahead of Sweden’s Anna Dyvik.

The third Norwegian in the final, Heidi Weng picked up the rear of the group through the corner that had seen at least one skier in the men’s quarterfinals fly into the blue net that fenced off the course. Diggins had also fallen on that corner during her warmup.

“It rattled my confidence,” Diggins said, referring to her warmup mishap. The American then took the corner more cautiously during her qualifier, which she felt was uncharacteristic of herself and and left her wanting more going into the day’s heats. (Diggins had qualified in 19th, 6.19 seconds behind Harsem’s winning qualifying time of 3:28.03.)

“I am not a hesitant downhill skier at all,” Diggins explained. “So I was like, ‘All right, in the rounds I am not going to ski like a wimp,’ and I was really proud of myself for … taking something that had rattled me and put it away and then just ski the rest of the day.”

In the women’s final, Diggins maintained her position through the bottom of the sharp downhill corner and the brief double-pole section before the first uphill hiccup. As the pitch increased, Nilsson transitioned to striding and the rest of the field followed suit.

Pressure began mounting from the Norwegians as Harsem strode to Nilsson’s left and Caspersen Falla caught up to her right. A meter behind them were Diggins, Dyvik and Weng.

The group disappeared from the teleprompter for a moment as they moved under the wooden bridge spanning the course. When they reappeared, Harsem had overtaken the lead. Nilsson clung to the back of her skis.

Diggins, who had been skiing alone in the second inside track, switched lanes, maneuvering herself into second alongside Harsem and Nilsson. But as they descended into the second downhill, the Norwegian and Swede pulled slightly away.

Another corner and the six finalists were heading uphill again, Diggins was the only skier who chose the far outside track. The climb was the course’s most grueling uphill, and Harsem had used it to break away from her competition all afternoon.

In the final, it appeared Harsem would do the same as she strode powerfully to the front, looking to gap Nilsson and Falla. But the 28 year old had not factored in her teammate Falla’s own dig in the ups. Halfway up the hill, Falla, 27, changed tracks and was gunning for the lead.

By the time the group reached the hairpin turn that would lead them back down to the stadium, Falla was first, Harsem second, and Nilsson third. Chasing them around two meters away was Diggins, followed shortly by Dyvik and Weng.

As they descended, the Swede’s skis seemed to lose ground. A Norwegian battle for first looked to be in the cards. In the second group, Diggins continued to hold off Dyvik’s attempts to push past her for fourth.

With one final hill to go, Falla strode with a speedy turnover to the outside. But while the Norwegian’s legs swished through the tracks, the Swede was powering forward in a powerful double pole.

Three years younger than her Norwegian challenger, Nilsson, 24, had already won one of two classic sprints previously this season. On Saturday, she was looking to rack up another win (and her third victory of the season after winning a skate sprint in Davos, Switzerland). 

She and Falla strode over the top of the final climb together, but heading into the final double pole to the finish, the Swede had made up her mind. The red World Cup sprint leader’s bib she was wearing would stay with her.

She double poled away from Falla and Harsem in the final 100 meters, crossing first in a time of 3:26.28. The win marked her fourth-career victory in a World Cup classic sprint and her 12th World Cup sprint win.

“I saw an opening there and took the chance,” Nilsson told Längd.se, according to a translation. “I think it worked very well technically.”

Crossing second, 1.27 seconds behind Nilsson was Harsem. The second-place finish was the Norwegian’s first World Cup podium ever.

“It’s amazing to be finally on the World Cup podium,” Harsem said, according to an International Ski Federation (FIS) press release. “I have been fourth a couple of times and seventh 100 times. It is very emotional for me. There have been many ups and downs in my career. I feel just amazing.”

Falla placed third, 1.81 seconds behind Nilsson. The defending Sprint World Cup champion, with 14 individual World Cup titles to her name, Falla was more critical of her own result.

“I did not really have it today. It’s good to be third but I will be headed home now and try to find shape for the Olympic Games,” Falla told FIS.

Diggins ended the day just off the podium in fourth (+3.81), while Dyvik was fifth (+4.45) and Weng sixth (+14.89).

“I feel like I just did the hardest interval ever,” Diggins told FasterSkier after. “But I think that’s great because going into the Olympics, it’s fun knowing that I have qualified and I made it to the finals in three out of four classic sprints this year; it is a good confidence booster.”

Though tired by the end of the day after rounding the course four times at a hard effort, Diggins indicated she found ways to keep herself relaxed and have fun.

“They played my absolute favorite songs all day I was doing a little salsa dance getting ready,” Diggins said with a laugh. “You do have to have fun, this is your life you have to enjoy it.”

Two Americans in Top 10

Rounding out the the top 10 was Russia’s Yulia Belorukova in seventh, Sweden’s Hanna Falk in eighth, American Sophie Caldwell in ninth, and Norway’s Mari Eide in 10th.

After qualifying in 13th, 5.38 seconds out of first, Caldwell advanced to the first quarterfinal, going head-to-head with Nilsson, Belorukova and Finland’s Aino-Kaisa Saarinen.

Caldwell skied strong through the first portion of the major climb, pacing toward the front with Nilsson, Belorukova and Norway’s Anna Svendsen. Just before the final hairpin turn, however, Nilsson and Belorukova charged. Caldwell pushed to maintain contact, but was edged out just before the final straightaway.

Her quarterfinal time was fast enough for her to earn the day’s second lucky loser spot, after Diggins advanced as the first lucky loser in third in her heat, behind Falk and Harsem.

Caldwell then advanced to the first semifinal, up against Falla, Nilsson, Belorukova, Falk, and Finland’s Krista Pärmäkoski. Caldwell was in the mix until halfway through the mjor course climb, when Nilsson, Falla and Belorukova began to push the pace.

“I think a lot of the classic courses now kind of have big steep hills that you do more of a run shuffle up,” Caldwell said. “[Today’s] was more power striding, which for me personally is definitely one of my weaknesses and something I’m working on.”

Caldwell finished her semifinal in fifth, 4.34 seconds behind Falla in first.

“I felt good, but it was definitely one of the hardest sprints I’ve ever done,” Caldwell said. “I don’t know if it felt that way because we’ve been racing some shorter ones lately and this one was quite a bit longer … but I’m happy with today.”

Also for the U.S., Sadie Bjornsen placed 21st and Ida Sargent 23rd overall, after finishing fifth in their quarterfinals.

Reflecting on her qualifier, in which she qualified seventh (+4.10), Bjornsen said she finished “feeling like I had lost some time in the corners.” 

“In my [quarterfinal] I felt like there was a lot of bouncing and trying to find a track and just trying to find a place to ski, so I was kind of depending on that final corner and climb into the finish,” Bjornsen said on the phone.

Her quarterfinal saw Falla and Pärmäkoski take the lead early on, but Bjornsen was positioned well within striking range as the group rounded the hairpin turn for the final descent.

The final descent and corner went smoothly for Bjornsen, but a tangle with Germany’s Sandra Ringwald caused her to crash out of contention. By the time Bjornsen reached the finishing stretch, Pärmäkoski and Falla had already locked up the top-two spots to automatically advance to the semifinals, and Bjornsen followed 8.81 seconds back in fifth.

“I had an awesome corner and then came into that final climb and unfortunately, Sandra just ended up falling on top of me, which was a bummer because I felt like I was really opening up there and finally had an opening,” Bjornsen said. “At the end of the day you just have to, for me, focus on what felt really good and channel that extra energy into some Olympic racing coming up here soon.” 

Bjornsen did not race last weekend in Dresden, nor will she start Sunday’s 10 k classic in Planica.

“I just want to make sure I am fully recovered,” Bjornsen said of her decision to opt out of Sunday’s distance race.

“I actually think this going to work out really naturally well for me just to have one more week to absorb that enormous load and feel really fresh and quick and ready for next weekend,” she added.

The fourth American woman to qualify on Saturday was Sargent in 17th (+6.13).

“Warming up for the heats, I tried to do a little harder warm up to try to see if I could get my body going, but I was definitely feeling some fatigue,” Sargent said after. “It was a hard course to feel that way, so I’m looking forward to hopefully getting a little more energy for tomorrow.”

Three other American women’s also competed on Saturday, with Julia Kern finishing 43rd, Rosie Brennan 49th and Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) 53rd.

Results: Qualifier | Final

–Ian Tovell contributed

The post Nilsson Nabs Another Sprint Title in Planica; Diggins 4th, Caldwell 9th appeared first on FasterSkier.com.

Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo Dominates in Planica; Hamilton 19th, Newell 20th

Johannes Høsflot Klaebo (center) after winning the World Cup classic sprint in Planica, Slovenia, over Norwegian teammate Emil Iversen (left) and Teodor Peterson of Sweden. (NRK screenshot)

Sunny skies. Craggy Slovenian Alps. Fresh snow and firm classic tracks. The perfect backdrop for the coif and the pink sunglasses. On Saturday in Planica, Slovenia Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo again proved his form is on another level. Sometimes calm with tens of meters to spare, sometimes allowing others to draft momentarily on his ski tails, Klæbo won the men’s World Cup 1.6 kilometer classic sprint in 3:27.35 minutes.

In a final that featured three Norwegians, two Swedes and a Russian, Norway’s Emil Iversen placed second (+0.62) and Sweden’s Teodor Peterson third (+8.14). Yes, that’s a big gap to third place, and they only bulged as the place orders descended. Oskar Svensson from Sweden was fourth (+11.80), Norway’s Erik Brandsdal fifth (+19.77), and Russia’s Gleb Retivykh sixth (+27.08).

“I had a lot of fun out there today,” Klæbo said according to an International Ski Federation (FIS) press release. “It was great to see so many people along the course and the stadium. I really liked the course with the long uphill sections.”

To say Klæbo is on a roll is an understatement. He, in fact, seems to be skiing in total control and on a different level —  his swing from top-end efforts to dialing it back for the “show” seems like a quid pro quo to keep competitors from discouragement. Not that the Klæbo win was ever in doubt, but great World Cups are sporting theater after all and drama heightens the tension.

Klæbo was the first place qualifier finishing the 1.6 k course that featured two small climbs and a larger one lasting for nearly half a kilometer, in 3:26.8 minutes. Dissecting some of Klæbo’s strategy from the qualification time splits, Klæbo skied the first .65 k of the course a full three full seconds faster than second place overall qualifier, Calle Halfvarsson from Sweden (+3:29.5). Klæbo then skied the next 1.59 k of course, which featured the major climb, with the second fastest split. Halfvarsson skied that sector the fastest by only 0.3 seconds over Klæbo, who had the second-fastest split time on that section. The point is this: Klæbo won the qualifier in the first 0.65 k, and could then control his speed the remaining distance and still win the qualifier by 2.75 seconds.

Effortless? Not exactly.  But at moments it appeared that way for the 21-year-old Klæbo.

Klæbo skied in the first heat that also featured U.S. skier Andy Newell. Like in his qualifier, Klæbo torched his heat from the start. Off the front at around fifty seconds, Klæbo looked around and realized he’d broken away. He appeared to literally let off the double pole gas. Perhaps it was a small tease as Newell chased behind in second. On the long climb Klæbo set tempo as the other places began to fall into order. On the descent, Klæbo streamed away as if on double secret wax. Tens of Meters from the finish, he began taking his poles off. Klæbo won the heat by 1.55 seconds over Finland’s Iivo Niskanen in second place (+1.55). Newell placed fourth (+2.59) and was eliminated, finishing the day 20th overall.

Klæbo’s semifinal again found him in total control. By the long climb, Klæbo was in his groove with teammate Iversen pegging his efforts to remain five then ten meters back. But Iversen hung in, and by the final stretch, after Klæbo pulled up and chilled, Iversen took Klæbo at the line in what appeared to be a nonchalant gift.

Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (right) and teammate Emil Emil Iversen knock knuckles as the cross the line in Planica, Slovenia on Saturday in the men’s classic sprint. Klæbo won the race while Iversen placed second overall. (Photo: emilivers Instagram screenshot)

The final began with Klæbo storming into the major climb with such speed that for a moment he became unbalanced. But in an instant, Klæbo’s stride was back in form as he strung out Petersen, Iversen, and Svensson. With a quick skate into another lane, followed by a killing double pole, Klæbo was gone up and over the climb. Iversen also made his move late on the climb, but by then, Klæbo was away.

With a tidy bow across the line, it was curtains for Klæbo.

Having not skied the Tour de Ski (TdS), after Saturday’s sprint, Klæbo is positioned first in the World Cup overall standings. He’s entered ten individual races in total. He’s placed first in eight, including Saturday’s sprint, second in last weekend’s Dresden freestyle sprint, and a 10th place back on Dec. 16 in Toblach’s 15 k skate. Klæbo has won all three classic sprints this season.

No real prognostication here, it is too early. Yet, Klæbo has won all three classic sprints this season. We know he is skiing at another level. Yes, the PyeongChang sprint is classic technique.

For the U.S., Simi Hamilton qualified 16th and ended his day after finishing fourth (+2:35) in the fifth quarterfinal.

“I feel like a classic sprint is always up in the air for me how it’s going to go,” Hamilton told FasterSkier in the mixed zone after the race. “Especially this season, the only other classic sprint I have done is in Ruka, and I was kind of getting really sick there, so I kinda had no idea how my body would respond.”

After skipping most of the TdS, leaving the Tour on Jan. 1, Hamilton contested the sprints in Dresden last weekend.

“I know that I am fit right now, and I have been feeling great so I kind of had that going into the day,” Hamilton explained. “I had a really good interval workout here a couple days ago so it was awesome just to see the course and get a feel for doing that. I felt good, I felt great in my qualifier, I felt like I stayed really relaxed. Sometimes I think classic sprinting, classic skiing in general, I have a tendency to get a little bit tight and I felt like in my qualifier I just stayed really loose the whole time which kind of let me get pretty good glide on that really long gradual climb. In the quarter I just kind of focused on the same thing.  Just start kind of conservatively so I had some energy for the long climb, and I felt like I did that well, I felt like I skied the climb really well, tried to make a move kind of at the top and when I was in third and then just needed to really pin it those last 200 meters and just ran out a little bit of juice. But I think we were in a little slower heat anyways, so I wouldn’t have gone as a lucky loser. But you know it’s great I think I love skiing heats obviously, and I think any day I can ski heats in a classic sprint with a pretty strong field, I think that is kind of a successful day for me so yeah I am psyched.”

Newell, after placing 20th on the day and qualifying in 23rd, loves classic days.

I was hoping for more out there today so a little bit disappointed with the final result,” Newell emailed. “ It was beautiful classic conditions out there and pretty straightforward waxing which made for really fun skiing. The course had a little bit of a different feel because it basically just had one really long climb from the low point to the high point. and of course, some fast icy corners to keep things interesting.  Especially in qualification, I felt semi out of control and scrubbed some speed. The courses actually skied a bit better in the heats I thought once they had less traffic.”

Matched with Klæbo in his heat, Newell clearly knew he’d have a speedster to chase.

In the heats, I again chose heat one with the same strategy I’ve been using  — choose the first heat and shoot for a final/podium rather than a top 15 etc.,” Newell added. “Not sure if that’s the right call… hard to tell sometimes. I skied the majority of the heat on the tails of Klæbo until the top of the climb he and Niskanen got a small gap. In the end, it wasn’t fast enough.”

Like Hamilton, Newell left the TdS early and contested last Saturday’s skate sprint in Dresden. Needless to say, Newell is eyeing PyeongChang.

“Although this wasn’t the pre-Olympic result I was looking for I still have a few weeks to fine tune classic skiing and fitness and think about what I need to do to have a top performance in PyeongChang,” Newell reflected.

A large contingent of U.S. men competed, with the Alaska Pacific University duo of Logan Hanneman and Tyler Kornfield narrowly missed advancing to the heats, finishing 35th (+13.55) and 38th (+13.96), respectively. Teammate Reese Hanneman was 51st in the qualifier (+17.99) and Craftsbury GRP’s Ben Lustgarten 59th (+19.41).

For both Logan Hanneman and Kornfield, this was their first career World Cup starts. Hanneman is 24-years-old, while Kornfield is 26.

Kornfield comes off a stellar Senior Nationals where he won the 30 k mass start classic, and placed third overall in both the classic and skate sprints. Kornfield is slowly adjusting to Europe and said his body still feels the effects of his Nationals 30 k win.

“I have had a little time, but ever since the 30 k, I haven’t slept past five hours,” Kornfield told FasterSkier in Planica. “I’ve just been trying to calm the heart rate. The first night before the classic sprint [in Anchorage], I went to bed at 3 AM. I was in bed at 11 or 12, just laying there. Just trying to process that. I know I can be better, I am just super amped to be here.”

Kornfield won sprint titles at Senior Nationals in both 2010 and 2012. Now, older and wiser, Kornfield understands World Cup starts are precious.

“I qualified for my first world cup in 2010, but I decided not to go,” Kornfield told FasterSkier. “And ever since I have been just regretting that. “But I think in the end I’ve been working so much harder for this and it feels so much better. The harder you work the more struggle you go through, it’s feels so good.”

In an email exchange, Kornfield elaborated on his World Cup invite decline back in 2010.

“After doing well in the 2010 US Nationals in Anchorage, I qualified for the sprint in Canmore, the final World Cups before the Vancouver Olympics,” Kornfield wrote. “ I went into US Nationals with the sole focus of making my first World Juniors. I hadn’t expected to do so well in the sprints and because I was a Freshman at UAF, I also wanted to make NCAAs.”

As for his 2010 turned-down World Cup starts in Canmore, those are “would haves” and “could haves”.

“I regretted not going for a long time because as I got older, I realized just how hard World Cup starts are to get and you cannot take them for granted,” Kornfield emailed. “When you are young and you get your first real breakthrough, you have so much confidence and belief that you are going to take over the world. It has been eight years and every now and then, that belief begins to wane. Eventually, I started to wonder if I would ever get that opportunity again. This is probably the first year in the last six years that my old confidence is starting to come back. I am also older and wiser and I know that the shape I am in now will not last forever, so I need to capitalize on this moment.”

A Canadian delegation also raced, with Julien Locke leading the way in 62nd (+21.26), Dominique Moncion-Groulx 65th (+22.70), Bob Thompson 66th (+24.48), and Antoine Briand 70th (+27.20).

Results: Men’s Sprint

-Ian Tovell and Gabby Naranja Contributed 

The post Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo Dominates in Planica; Hamilton 19th, Newell 20th appeared first on FasterSkier.com.

Kevin Drury et Kelsey Serwa au pied du podium à Nakiska
Les Canadiens Kevin Drury et Kelsey Serwa ont conclu leur finale respective à la Coupe du monde de ski cross de Nakiska, en Alberta, au 4e échelon, samedi.
The Drama’s Behind Them: Dahlmeier and Bø Cruise to Antholz Pursuit Wins

Laura Dahlmeier of Germany, Tiril Eckhoff of Norway, and Darya Domracheva of Belarus on the shooting range in the 10 k pursuit in Antholz, Italy, today. Dahlmeier went on to win the day. (Photo: IBU/Biathlonworld.com)

Norwegian biathletes started in the lead of both of today’s World Cup pursuits in Antholz, Italy, today, and one stayed there: Johannes Thingnes Bø cruised to a one-minute win over French rival Martin Fourcade, shooting a perfect 20/20 and flying on the trails. In the women’s race, his teammate Tiril Eckhoff had a few too many missed shots, and as she faded to fourth Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier surged to eventually claim a 17.3-second win over Dorothea Wierer of Italy.

Dahlmeier Finding Form as Olympics Near

Dahlmeier started second today behind Eckhoff, and shot 19/20 to take the win. Her only missed target was the last shot of her very first shooting bout; from then on she was perfect, and looked calm as she knocked down target after target, even in the last shooting bout as she went head to head with Eckhoff and Belarus’s Darya Domracheva.

“Pursuits are a real thriller,” Dahlmeier told German broadcaster ARD after the race, according to a translation. “The one who keeps her thoughts in check the best usually wins. I tried to shoot clean but had a miss right in the first stage. Then I tried to close the gap again, and in the third and fourth shootings it was incredibly suspenseful again. It was absolutely important to stay centered within yourself. And I am really really happy it worked out like this today.”

Behind her, the race for second place was intense. With Eckhoff missing two shots in the final shooting bout, she was out of contention. Domracheva had missed one shot and headed to the penalty loop; as she came out, Wierer – who had cleaned that last bout – joined her.

The two battled on the trails, with Domracheva initially leading but unable to drop Wierer, then Wierer passing her on the last big, open climb, but unable to drop Domracheva. In several stretches of the course, the two women were side by side, each skiing their hardest but unable to get any sort of gap.

Dorothea Wierer crosses the finish line in second place with just one pole, as Darya Domracheva – who stepped on her other pole – eases up and settles for third. (Photo: IBU/Biathlonworld.com)

Then rounding the final corner to the finish line, Domracheva – following Wierer closely – stepped on her competitor’s pole, pulling it off completely. In an act of sportsmanship, Domracheva hung back as Wierer skied with one pole down the finishing stretch to claim second place.

“I was before Darya, and it can happen – of course it was really [close] between us, and she took my pole, but it is like this when you are fighting,” Wierer said in a press conference, before adding that her competitor’s response to the incident was nice. “Thank you Darya!”

“Of course, it would be absolutely unfair from me if I would fight against an athlete with one pole,” Domracheva said in the press conference. “I was the reason that she lost it. So. Even so, I couldn’t be sure that I could be hear to this finish line. But anyway, it was not such a nice situation for us both, but I could not play it another way.”

Both women are on an upward trajectory, with Wierer picking up her third podium in the last five races, and Domracheva taking her third podium of the season. In the last ten races, the triple Olympic gold medalist has only been out of the top eight twice.

“I’m really happy today,” Wierer said. “Of course a lot of people expect a podium at home. It’s even more difficult – there are lots of things to do, interviews and appointments and everything. So it’s really stressful for me. But I felt really relaxed today, I felt comfortable on the skis and I think with two mistakes, it was okay, for today.”

Eckhoff crossed the line +1:09.9. Finland’s Kaisa Makarainen finished fifth, +1:18.4, after moving up from 26th place in the sprint thanks to just two missed shots. That means that she holds on to the overall World Cup leader’s bib.

Sixth place went to Kazakhstan’s Galina Vishnevskaya, one of just three women to shoot 20-for-20. Her result was accompanied by the news that the Kazakh team is still being investigated for doping materials found in Austria last year. The police carried out a search warrant of their team lodging and van in Antholz today, according to an International Biathlon Union press release.

For the U.S., the top finish came from Clare Egan, who moved from 56th up to 37th despite three missed shots; she had the 22nd-fastest ski time of the day.

“I’m really happy with my skiing right now,” Egan wrote in an email. “I’m finally getting into race shape, just in time for the Games. Today I had the 8th fastest last lap, which is a personal best for me. I also believe I had the fastest skis out there. I was psyched to stay with Justine Braisaz all the way from the last shooting to the finish and I think if we hadn’t had to go around a few other people I could have gotten a better finishing Lane for the sprint.”

Emily Dreissigacker, competing in her first-ever World Cup pursuit, finished 56th (+6:27.2) with four missed shots.

“My strategy was really to just relax and try not to get too caught up in the excitement,” Dreissigacker wrote in an email. “I think I did a good job of that until my last shooting. That last standing I was definitely very tired going into it and it just felt very rushed and hectic, not relaxed at all. I think this was a good final weekend of racing before the Olympics. I definitely struggled with the altitude a little but overall I think it was good progress. I am looking forward to getting in a good training block in Ruhpolding before we head to Korea.”

Susan Dunklee sat out the pursuit with a cold. No Canadian women qualified for the event.

Bø Decimates Field in Men’s Pursuit, But Fourcade Still Leads World Cup

Bø started with a lead of 12.8 seconds over Fourcade, and it only got bigger. The pair have been battling all season and between them have taken every win so far but one – that went to Bø’s brother, Tarjei.

But today Fourcade didn’t look like a match for the Norwegian, who not only hit all his targets but also skied faster than the Frenchman, and gained a few seconds on the shooting range, too.

With Fourcade missing just one shot, by the finish the margin between the two men had grown to a whopping 1:00.5.

Johannes Thingnes Bø of Norway picked up his eighth win of the season. (Photo: IBU/Biathlonworld.com)

“Until the last shooting, anything is possible,” Fourcade said in a press conference. “But since the first shoot, I knew that I had to expect Johannes [to make mistakes] to be back in the competition. Today he was perfect. There’s nothing more to add…. I’m satisfied with what I did today. It’s not my best shape, but… I’m satisfied that I did a beautiful biathlon competition and a beautiful second place.”

Anton Shipulin of Russia moved from fourth into third place after the second shooting, and never relinquished this spot as his only penalty of the day had come in the first stage. He finished +1:18.4. Arnd Peiffer of Germany, who has started in third and missed one shot in the second stage, finished fourth, +1:47.5.

Fifth place went to Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway, who cleaned all his targets to move up from 32nd.

Three men started for the U.S., with Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey both collecting just one penalty. That moved Burke from 43rd up to 21st in the pursuit, finishing +3:03.4.

“I feel like I may have been a bit too conservative on the range in some of my previous four-stage races this season,” Burke wrote in an email. “I went out there today with the goal of being more aggressive and getting my total range time back down to a more competitive time.  Today was just one of those days when it clicked and I was able to carry through with the plan. I was in quite the group on the last lap but unfortunately was at the end of the group for the entire loop. I did not have the legs today to get around. Tomorrow I will have another chance in the mass start!”

Bailey moved from 41st to 35th (+3:54.8).

“Shooting was decent today, but I didn’t feel any better on the skis, unfortunately,” Bailey said in a U.S. Biathlon Association press release. “For now, I’ll take a rest day and get back to it on Monday with the preparation for the Olympics. I trust my training was good this season. Now, it’s just a matter of doing some quality training sessions over the next two weeks and focusing on the Olympics.”

Despite three misses, Leif Nordgren climbed from 50th to 44th (+4:40.8).

No Canadian men had qualified for the pursuit.

Results: men / women

-Harald Zimmer contributed

The post The Drama’s Behind Them: Dahlmeier and Bø Cruise to Antholz Pursuit Wins appeared first on FasterSkier.com.

Daniel Andre Tande svjetski prvak u skijaškim skokovima
Norvežanin Daniel Andre Tande postao je svjetski prvak u skijaškim skokovima u Oberstdorfu.
Sprintti kiilaa jatkolennolta myöhästyneen Iivo Niskasen olympiaohjelmaan
Iivo Niskanen tutustui kisalatuun otsalampun valossa.
Kingsbury mène un groupe de 10 bosseurs canadiens en finale à Mont-Tremblant
Mikaël Kingsbury a poursuivi sur sa lancée en terminant au 1er rang des qualifications masculines, samedi matin, en Coupe du monde de ski acrobatique à Mont-Tremblant.
Justine Dufour-Lapointe mène un doublé canadien à Mont-Tremblant, Kingsbury 2e
La Canadienne Justine Dufour-Lapointe a remporté la Coupe du monde de Mont-Tremblant, samedi.
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