Weekend International Racing Recapby Mary Kozloski
January 15, 2017
TOBLACH, Italy January 14 and 15, 2017 - An exciting weekend wrapped up on Sunday after a weekend of sprint races. Saturday, Simi Hamilton lead the U.S. Ski Team finishing second with his fourth career World Cup podium, after an exhilarating photo finish during the 1.3k freestyle sprint. Saturday was an impressive day overall for the U.S., as all five finished in the top 15. The weekend concluded with a Team Sprint where U.S. men Simi Hamilton and Andy Newell sprinted to a sixth place finish, making this the best team sprint for the U.S. men since 2009.
(Hamilton - Skar - Klaebo, Toblach 2017; photo credit - NordicFocus)
In the men’s 1.3km freestyle sprint, Hamilton and Andy Newell qualified fifth and sixth respectively. After a strong qualifier, Newell snuck into the quarterfinal as a lucky loser but fell short finishing third in his heat behind Norway’s Sindre Skar, leading him to finish 13th overall. Hamilton won his semifinal heat and snuck into the finals as a lucky loser. The final heat was fierce as Hamilton moved tactically throughout the heat until the last stretch to the finish line. Hamilton had no choice but to lunge through the finish line, for a photo finish between him and Skar. Skar was able to edge Hamilton at the line by just 0.03 seconds, while Norway’s Johannes Klaebo finished third.
“It was a great race and fun to ski. I was in the lead before the home stretch but then Sindre passed me,” Hamilton explained to FIS. “It would have been nice to finish one spot better but second place is great.”
A photo finish also determined the race for the women’s 1.3km freestyle race on Saturday. Russia’s Natalia Matveeva won her second career individual sprint victory in a photo finish with overall World Cup sprint leader, Norway’s Maiken Falla by just 0.08 seconds and Sweden’s Hanna Falk finished third. The U.S. women had a strong sprint day, as Kikkan Randall, Sophie Caldwell and Ida Sargent all advanced to the semifinals. Caldwell and Randall went head to head in the semifinals, but an unfortunate crash between them cost them both a spot in the finals. On the first lap, Randall drafted off Caldwell on the downhill and got tangled up with Caldwell on the turn. Despite the crash, Randall and Caldwell ended up 10th and 11th, while Sargent finished just behind them in 12th, respectively.
In the men’s competition, Canada, whose team consisted of Lenny Valjas and Alex Harvey, won their first ever World Cup team sprint victory (Canada, with Harvey, previously won team sprints title at the World Championships in 2011). Harvey took control on the last climb during the finals, to pull away and secure the win from Sweden’s Karl-Johan Westberg and Oskar Swensson who finished second just 0.53 seconds behind, while Italy’s Dietmar Koekler and Federico Pellegrino finished third.
(Women’s Team Sprint Podium, Toblach 2017; photo credit: NordicFocus)
Russia’s Natalia Matveeva secured her second win of the weekend with teammate Yulia Belorukova. Matveeva anchored the finals to finish just 0.04 seconds ahead of Sweden 1 (Hanna Falk and Ida Ingemarsdotter), anchored by Hanna Falk and Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla and Astrid Jacobsen who finished third. Kikkan Randall and Sophie Caldwell made for a solid team, advancing all the way to the finals and were able to hold on to a top ten finish.
Since the Tour de Ski wrapped up on January 8th, athletes who completed the tour took a break from racing this weekend, focusing on recovery and training in Seiser Alm, Italy until the team reunites again.
- 1.3km Freestyle Sprints - 1/14/17
- Team Sprints - 1/15/17
About the author...
Mary Kozloski is from Green Bay, WI and is a UW Green Bay Ski Team Alumni, where she skied and studied Communications and Business Administration for four years. Mary continues to love and stay connected to the sport through writing. She is a travel and outdoor enthusiast and enjoys exploring everything Colorado has to offer, which she has called her new home state since fall of 2016.