TOBLACH, Italy – World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall powered to fifth in the Toblach freestyle sprints on Sunday (Feb. 2), the final World Cup race before the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Marit Bjoergen of Norway took the victory with current World Cup overall sprint leader Denise Herrmann of Germany finishing second.
“Today was another solid day. My performance was strong through all the rounds; I just didn’t employ the right tactics in the final. I was really happy with fourth in the qualification and pumped to see three of my teammates advance as well,” said Randall. “While I’m definitely bummed not to have been in the fight for the win in the final stretch, I am happy with the way I felt today and I probably learned more from the way the race played out. With such a long straight downhill before the finish, this was a very tactical course and a very different course from Sochi.”
The warm weather yielded smooth racing for all the racers with times close to 30-seconds faster than the last World Cup sprints in Toblach. Overall, four American women advanced to the semifinals, including Randall in fifth, Sophie Caldwell 19th, Jessie Diggins 28th and Holly Brooks 29th. Simi Hamilton finished 14th in the sprints, the top spot for U.S. men, with Andy Newell in 17th. Ola Vigen Hattestad and Eirik Brandsdal went one-two for Norway in the men’s sprints. The athletes now head to Sochi for the Opening Ceremony Friday, Feb. 7 followed by the women’s skiathlon Feb. 8 and men’s skiathlon Feb. 9.
“I am looking forward to heading to Sochi in a couple days and getting in some good training on the sprint course there,” Randall added.
Release courtesy of USSA