TOBLACH, Italy (Feb. 2) – World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) powered to fifth in the Toblach freestyle sprints, the final World Cup 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. 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.
World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall powered to fifth in the Toblach freestyle sprints, the final World Cup before the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. (Getty Images/AFP/Pierre Teyssot)
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.
In the quarters and semis I was able to ski in second most of the course and then come out of the draft to get the lead before the final corner. In the final I tried a different tactic, trying to break up the pack with a surge over the building. The move was okay, but I didn't get away enough and then up the next hill I hesitated not wanting to lead into the downhill. I ended up not carrying enough momentum into the downhill and got stuck in the middle of the pack.
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.
I am looking forward to heading to Sochi in a couple days and getting in some good training on the sprint course there.