The U.S. Ski Team's Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) turned on the afterburners in the backstretch and left the field stranded as she won her second straight FIS Cross Country World Cup sprint in the Swiss resort of Davos. Randall, who qualified first, swept every heat by large margins as she won by 1.7 seconds over Russian Natalia Matveeva to move into third in the FIS World Cup overall standings. Russian Alexey Petukhov won the men's sprint with Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) qualifying third but failing to advance to semifinals.
•Second straight win and third podium of the season for Kikkan Randall.
•Randall is now third behind Marit Bjoergen in the World Cup overall and has a 240-194 lead over Matveeva in the sprint standings.
•Fifth career World Cup win, moving up from third in Davos last year.
•Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) qualified third but lost out of a spot in quarterfinals by a tenth, finishing 16th.
•Holly Brooks (Anchorage) continued her hot season opening qualifying 18th but losing out in the quarterfinals to finish in the points in 23rd
•The World Cup now heads to Rogla, Slovenia for distance and sprint races next weekend.
It was a lot of hard racing today. I had to save a little bit of energy for the end, keep a good position near the front and go like crazy at the end.
This is why we cross country skiers train eight months a year so we can last as long as possible.
I am really happy about my race today. I had a good start in the prologue where I had the fastest time and then I could go hard in each of the different heats. In the quarterfinal I felt that it will be tough to go two rounds on this course but then all went well. It was a good atmosphere here in Davos and it was fun to ski.
I've competed in all World Cup races so far in this season. Its tough but for that a cross country skiers is training hard in summer. But I also must admit that I am looking forward to the next weekend in Rogla and later on the Christmas break.
Matt Whitcomb, Women's Cross Country Coach
Our ladies certainly left their mark on Davos, finishing the weekend with five top 30’s that included a huge win. If you watched Kikkan’s final today you saw that on the top of the final climb she opened up a can and showed us what inspired skiing looks like.
We’re obviously fired up by Holly’s qualification. But with the way things have been going the word surprised no longer fits. It’s a true testament to hard and smart work done by Holly and her club (APU Nordic). As we search the country for the next World Cup skier it is comforting to know that APU is hard at work milling its current and future generation.
A shout-out is in order for those back home who represent what certainly appears to be an increase in the U.S. skiing fan base. Your cheers are reaching Europe, and the support is helping drive this team.
photos Janos Schmidt