American Randall Wins FIS Cross Country Season Opener
MUONIO, Finland (Nov. 12) – American World Champion silver medalist Kikkan Randall started the 2010-11 season strong, winning the Muonio FIS opener. Randall beat the field by nearly a second in the final round, while Estonia's Timo Simonlatser crushed the men's line-up by close to two seconds.
"Kicked off the season with a skate sprint in Muonio today," wrote Randall on her Facebook Fan Page. "It was a tough course, climbing right out of the start and a very tactical race with not much room for passing."
Randall came into the final rounds with the second fastest qualifying time of 3:14.24, three spots ahead of Dartmouth student Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT), who qualified with a time of 3:17.43, the fifth fastest time.
On the men's side, USA's Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), like Randall, posted the second fastest qualifying time, 2:47.67. Unfortunately, Newell experienced a bit of bad luck in the quarterfinals, getting boxed out resulting in not advancing to the semi-finals. Simonlatser was joined by Kazakhstan's Alexey Poltoranin in second and Peeter Kummel of Estonia in third.
Sargent, one of the USA's top U-23 skiers, showed her potential, advancing to the semifinals against a field filled of World Champions and World Cup winners. Randall, the lone American to stand on the start line of the final round, put her head down and skating to the finish to take the first victory of the season, ahead of Slovenia's Petra Majdic and Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk.
"Leading from the front each time I was able to hold my position and take the win in the final," posted Randall. "With several top World Cup skiers in attendance, I think it's a good start."
Races continue in Muonio Saturday with the men's and women's classic 10/5k.
November 12, 2010
Men's Freestyle Sprint 1.4k
1. Timo Simonlatser, Estonia, 2:53.86
2. Alexey Poltoranin, Kazakhstan, 2:55.30
3. Peeter Kummel, Estonia, 2:56.14
4. Martin Jaks, Czech Republic, 2:56.57
5. Alexey Moriakov, Russia, 2:56.57
6. Josef Wenzl, Germany, 3:04.89
Women's Freestyle Sprint 1k
1. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, 3:15.01
2. Petra Majdic, Slovenia, 3:15.84
3. Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland, 3:16.03
4. Arianna Follis, Italy, 3:16.44
5. Pirjo Muranen, Finland, 3:18.26
6. Magda Genuin, Italy, 3:20.50
Image by Gepa