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American Randall fifth in 750-meter sprint, best-ever U.S. women's WC result

American Randall fifth in 750-meter sprint, best-ever U.S. women’s WC result{mosimage}BORLANGE, Sweden – Thobias Fredriksson led Sweden to a one-two finish in a World Cup cross-country 1.5-kilometer sprint March 7, while Arianna Follis of Italy won the women’s 750-meter event.

American Kikkan Randall finished fifth on the women’s side, the best-ever U.S. women’s World Cup result. Just two weeks ago she produced the all-time best U.S. women’s Olympic cross-country finish when she was ninth in the sprint.

‘It was a really fun night’ Randall said of the race, which took place under the lights at a horse race track. ‘I thought it would be cold, but if you kept moving around, it wasn’t too bad … and the track stayed hard.’

Follis edged Norway’s Marit Bjoergen in the women’s final. Just two days previous, Bjoergen won the 45 km Vasaloppet classic-style race in Mora, Sweden. With the second-place finish, Bjoergen increased her World Cup overall lead to 825 points. Canada’s Beckie Scott, who finished in 10th, is second overall with 650 points.

Sara Renner of Canada was third.

In the men’s race, Fredriksson won, while countryman Peter Larsson was second and unheralded Canadian Devon Kershay was third.

Two-time Olympic sprint champion Bjorn Lind of Sweden was fourth.

‘My body felt stiff and heavy before the race, so I didn’t expect this to happen’ Fredriksson said.

The former World Cup sprint champ’s last tour win was at Lahti, Finland, two years ago.

Andy Newell registered the best American result, finishing in 13th. Teammate Torin Koos was 40th.

Germany’s Tobias Angerer, who did not compete, retained his lead in the overall standings with 725 points. Norway’s Tor Arne Hetland, who finished fifth, is second overall with 544 points, followed by Lindh, 513. Five races remain on the tour.

– The Associated Press / USSA

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