KUUSAMO, Finland (Nov. 30) – U.S. Ski Team cross country racer Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) scored a career best Friday, powering to a ninth place finish in the opening classic sprint at the Ruka Triple mini tour World Cup at Kuusamo in northern Finland. Norway’s Marit Bjoergen won for the women with Russian Nikita Kruikov getting his first win. The sprint was the first of a three-day mini tour. Defending FIS World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) was tenth.
Ida Sargent strides through the bitter cold to a career best 9th in the Ruka Triple classic sprint opener in Kuusamo. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom - Alain Grosclaude)
I felt great all day. It was a fun day and I was just skiing on the momentum that got started with the awesome results last weekend. I'm super happy because it's my best ever sprint result and first top ten but being a few tenths from the final is also so close! Next time!
I got boxed in on the big uphill in my semifinal and had to slow down and change tracks. I think if I had had a different track I could have gone for it more on the uphill, which is my strength, and probably made the final.
I'm still pretty psyched about how this season has started. I had hoped to be fighting for the podium today but I feel satisfied with the effort I gave today. I just felt flat and when the other girls picked up the tempo over the top of the climb I couldn't respond. My skiing felt tight and heavy and I was leaning too far into the hill. That's usually where I come on really strong in the heats but today I just didn't have that sprint gear.
Matt Whitcomb, Women’s Head Coach
For Ida, today is a career breakthrough kind of day that we've known was going to happen. But actually seeing her hit the top 10 will provide all kinds of new confidence in her sprinting.
The start of the Ruka Triple means kicking off your weekend at the mercy of a tough classic sprint. That yields an early tour lead for sprinters and a bit of a time deficit going into the longer events for pure distance skiers. Tomorrow the tour gets really exciting as sprinters hang on, distance skiers climb the ranks, and those who excel in both make a getaway.