Beitostolen, Norway – World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall won a pre-season 1.2-kilometer freestyle sprint FIS race on Sunday during the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team’s first race series of the 2013-14 Olympic season.
Randall, of Anchorage, Alaska, overtook Slovenian Vesna Fabjan on the final climb, finishing the race 0.8 seconds ahead at 2:17 minutes. Randall was the only American woman to advance to the finals.
“I am happy to have two solid races under my belt. This weekend was mostly about waking up the body before the World Cup opener [in Kuusamo, Finland] next week,” said Randall. “It’s a good confidence boost to stack up well against a strong field. But the real tests begin next week!”
U.S. Ski Team veteran Andy Newell, of Shaftsbury, Vt., finished sixth in the men’s 1.4-kilometer freestyle sprint on Sunday, advancing into the final heat and finishing behind winner Sondre Turvoll Fossli of Norway.
“I was feeling ready to race leading into [the race], although I hadn’t done a real skate sprint since New Zealand,” said Newell. “This course wasn’t too easy because of the wind … but it definitely wasn’t a World Cup course either with less climbing, only taking us about two-and-a-half minutes. So I knew I was going to have to be quick in qualification and aggressive in the heats.
“It’s still early and I want to be skiing my best in January and February … so I’m confident, but also not feeling much pressure,” Newell added.
Sunday’s races come just before this weekend’s World Cup opener, the Ruka Triple in Kuusamo, Finland Nov. 29-Dec. 1, which will feature a mini-tour with men’s and women’s classic sprints on Friday and two distance races on Saturday and Sunday.
“Overall, we were pleased with the week in Beito,” confirmed Chris Grover, Head Cross Country Coach for the U.S. Ski Team. “We were able to accomplish our goals of getting acclimated in Europe, getting back on snow after most of the team was off for the past 2.5 weeks and getting a few starts under our belts. The Team was not at their sharpest in the races but that is generally how we ski on our first week in Europe.”
FIS Cross Country Ski Race
Beitostolen, Norway – Nov. 24, 2013
Women’s SP 1.2 km F Final
|6||10||OESTBERG Ingvild Flugstad||1990||NOR|
|7||3||FALLA Maiken Caspersen||1990||NOR|
|8||5||JACOBSEN Astrid Uhrenholdt||1987||NOR|
Men’s SP 1.2 km F Final
|1||1||FOSSLI Sondre Turvoll||1993||NOR|
|2||5||KROGH Finn Haagen||1990||NOR|
|7||2||HATTESTAD Ola Vigen||1982||NOR|
|9||14||SKAR Sindre Bjoernestad||1992||NOR|
|10||22||NORTHUG Petter Jr.||1986||NOR|