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Skiing - 29. January 2008.

Randall Leads U.S. in FR Sprint

CANMORE, Alberta (Jan. 26) -

Olympic champion Chandra Crawford of Canada was the women's winner. Saturday was the last of four days of racing at the 1988 Olympic venue west of Calgary. The schedule resumes in two weeks in Otepaeae, Estonia.

"We saw some good skiing out there, and some outstanding skiing from Kuzzy," U.S. Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said. "He capitalized on his fitness as well as his skiing."

Thirty skiers made the finals heats. Five groups of six compete with two skiers advancing to the next heat and two "lucky losers" who had the next fastest non-qualifying times moved up in each heat, too.

Randall qualified fifth and won her quarterfinal heat. She was eliminated in the semifinal round but rebounded to finish second (eighth overall) in the so-called B Final mixing the six from semis who didn't move into the final heat. "Kikkan looked super strong but this is sprint racing and a lot stuff goes on out there," Vordenberg said. "It's kind of crazy. How else do you explain no Norwegians in the men's final after they took the top five places in the classic sprint three days ago? It wasn't just the change in technique, I'm sure. It's the nature of sprints - anything can happen."

Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA) will join the U.S. Ski Team for World Cup racing in Europe over the next six weeks, Vordenberg said.

"We didn't reach our goal, which was to have someone on the podium here in Canmore, and that's disappointing," he said. "We have to improve the program so we can target an event and capitalize on it. We had everything going for us here. We had great skis, a good living situation, good health, a kind of 'home field advantage' - and we couldn't get that podium.

"We have the athletes to get it done, and the staff to get it done. Now, we just have to do it. We've got some serious work to accomplish, but I'm really revved about getting done what we need to do so when we get to Vancouver in 2010, we know we've done everything to make things happen."

The Viessman FIS Cross Country World Cup schedule resumes Feb. 9-10 in Otepaeae, Estonia. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation is conducting a behind-the-scenes VIP trip ("Caviar and Cross Country") to Otepaeae and one to the fabled Holmenkollen nordic festival ("Nordic Nights") next month. Click here for details.

Alberta World Cup
Canmore, ALB - Jan. 26, 2008

Women's 1.1K FR Sprint
1. Chandra Crawford, Canada
2. Pirjo Muranen, Finland
3. Magda Genuin, Italy
4. Natalia Matveeva, Russia
5. Arianna Follis, Italy
6. Virpi Kuitunen, Finland
8. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, AK
44. Laura Valaas, Wenatchee, WA
46. Lindsay Williams, Hastings, MN
55. Kate Arduser, Anchorage, AK
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