FALUN, Sweden (March 24) – Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) became the first American woman in history to break into the top three overall in the Cross Country World Cup on Sunday. Randall finished seventh in the Falun 10k freestyle pursuit, the fourth stage of this week’s mini-tour, cementing her into the number three spot. She started 15th, 2:52 back from the leader Marit Bjoergen of Norway, who ran away with the win. Randall needed to at least maintain her 15th position in order to secure her third overall position and she easily moved up the field with the day’s second fastest time.
Kikkan Randall became the first American woman in history to break into the top three overall in the Cross Country World Cup on Sunday. (Getty Images/AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand)
- Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) broke into the top three overall in the FIS Cross Country World Cup on Sunday.
- Before Sunday, no American woman had ever finished in the top three overall. Randall was fifth last year.
- Previously, only one American had ever finished in the top three. Bill Koch won the title in 1982 and was third in 1983.
- Randall won the World Cup sprint title for the second year in a row last week and also placed 10th in the distance standings.
- Randall finished seventh in the Falun 10k freestyle pursuit Sunday, the fourth and final stage of this week’s mini-tour, cementing her into the number three spot.
- She started 15th, 2:52 back from the leader Marit Bjoergen of Norway.
- Randall was able to move up quickly, skating up to 12th and juggling with Finland's Krista Lahteenmaki for most of the race in 12th and 13th place.
- They built a good gap ahead of the next pack and stayed well ahead of the 15th spot Kikkan needed to clinch third.
- With two kilometers to go, Randall started to move up through the field. From the eight to nine kilometer marks, she moved from 12th up to eighth, and then picked up another spot in the final kilometer to finish seventh.
- Randall earned the second fastest time of the day, just behind Norwegian Therese Johaug, who finished second.
- Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) was also in the chase pack and ended up 16th. Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) finished 26th and Holly Brooks (Anchorage) 27th.
- Stephen took 20th in the cross country overall and also 15th in distance standings. Last year she was 42nd overall and 28th in distance.
- Marit Bjoergen ran away with the win on Sunday.
- Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk, who had clinched the World Cup title, withdrew before the start.
- In a 10k freestyle pursuit, skiers are seeded at the start by their mini-tour time differential, so that every stage built up to the final on Sunday.
- In the men’s 15k pursuit, Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) finished 27th, the top spot for U.S. men.
- Petter Northug Jr. lead the Norwegian sweep.
- Sunday’s race was the final race of the cross country World Cup, one of the strongest seasons ever for the U.S. team.
Men’s World Cup overall standings
Women’s World Cup overall standings