KUUSAMO, Finland – World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall of Anchorage, Alaska skied into second place in the cross country sprint World Cup opener Friday, earning the best classic World Cup sprint result of her career. Randall battled her way through the course’s tough uphill sections and into the top three after qualifying 12th, the first time she has ever made it to a classic World Cup sprint podium.
“I have always wanted to improve my classic sprint skiing; I have done a lot of that this summer,” said Randall. “I’m happy that I have been healthy and have had a really good summer in training. The last uphill here is challenging. There is lot of noise and places are changing. Once you get on the top of the hill there is still a long way to go.”
Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk pulled out the victory. Ida Sargent of Orleans, Vt. posted the next best finish for the U.S. Cross Country Team women in 16th. American Sadie Bjornsen qualified third for the sprint, her career best, but did not advance past the quarterfinals. In the men’s sprint opener, Andy Newell of Shaftsbury, Vt. took the top spot for the men’s U.S. Cross Country team in 24th. Friday was the sprint portion of the three-day Ruka Triple. On Saturday the men and women race a 5k/10k classic race and then ski a 10k/15k freestyle pursuit on Sunday.
Release courtesy of USSA