DRAMMEN, Norway (March 5) - Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) clinched her third straight FIS World Cup sprint title Wednesday, finishing seventh in a classic sprint in Drammen. Randall missed out on a finals spot by a mere boot length in the semi-finals. Norway swept the wins in the city sprint with Ola Vigen Hattestad winning for men and Maiken Caspersen Falla for women. The World Cup heads to nearby Holmenkollen in Oslo for long distance racing this weekend before wrapping with a final mini-tour in Falun next week.
Kikkan Randall loses out by a boot with a semi-final lunge in a classic sprint at Drammen, Norway. Randall finished seventh, but clinched her third straight FIS World Cup sprint title with just one mini-tour sprint remaining next week in Falun. (Jarl Robert Christensen/Digitalsport)
- Kikkan Randall clinched a third straight FIS World Cup sprint title, finishing seventh in Drammen.
- Randall has a 54 point lead over Germany's Denise Herrmann with just one mini-tour sprint, with only 50 points at stake, remaining.
The window for Randall to clinch opened with Germany’s Denise Herrmann failed to advance to the semi-finals. She had a slow start in her semi-final heat, but worked her way up to the lead before being overtaken in the last few meters, narrowly missing a lucky loser spot into the finals.
- Randall, who qualified 17th, lost a close battle for second in her semi-final heat with Norway's Stina Nilsson.
- Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) led the U.S. men in 25th - the lone qualifier for the heats.
- Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) qualified 21st and finished 30th. She tangled with another skier at the start and was relegated to sixth in her heat for changing lanes too soon out of the start.
- Norway swept the top two spots for men and women, with Ola Vigen Hattestad and Maiken Caspersen Falla winning.
- The World Cup tour now heads to nearby Oslo for a 50k and 30k event at Holmenkollen this weekend before heading to the 2015 World Championships site of Falun, Sweden for a three-stage mini-tour March 14-16.
Winning the sprint overall title is a very meaningful achievement for me because in order to win it you have to be strong over the whole season, not just one day. To have been able to put together three solid seasons now is a great accomplishment for me, my team and for all those that helped me on this journey!
I got the news that I had clinched the globe just minutes after missing out on the final, so you can imagine the good news helped me get over my frustration a little bit!! I didn't realize I had the opportunity to secure the globe today. I envisioned a battle all the way through the last sprint next week! It feels really good to have the globe secured so that I can really enjoy the final sprint!
While the Olympics were my biggest goal this year, trying to defend the sprint cup was also big in my mind. It's nice to be ending the season on a high note!
Chris Grover, Cross Country Head Coach
Kikkan's hat trick of three World Cup sprint titles in a row really sums up just how consistently dominant she has been in sprinting over these past years. We are all so proud of her accomplishment.
She skied great all day. She had excellent skis and performed with a lot of energy and stayed near the front, finishing second in her quarterfinal to advance to the semis. She really understands this Drammen sprint: where to save energy, where to get in the draft, and where to make strong passing moves. It takes a few years of skiing this special Drammen course to really understand the demands and the tactics.