USA's Kikkan Randall finishes fifth in final race before Olympics; Norway's Marit Bjorgen wins
U.S. cross-country gold medal threat Kikkan Randall and her teammates have completed their final FIS World Cup sprint race before the Olympics.
Randall picked up a fifth-place finish to lead the Americans in today’s free technique event at Toblach, Italy, a race that was won by one of her main rivals in Sochi, Norway’s Marit Bjorgen – who also won the ladies 10km event yesterday at Toblach.
Embedded owg_slideshow: International contenders in cross-country at the Sochi Games
Bjorgen topped today’s podium, finishing ahead of German runner-up and overall World Cup sprint standings leader Denise Herrmann, and her Norwegian teammate in third, Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg.
“I think my legs were a little bit tired after yesterday and the training camp in Seiser Alm [Italy],” Bjorgen said in an FIS release. “I didn’t feel very fast in the qualification.
“But each heat I felt a little bit better and was able to advance each time. I was able to get myself into good position off the downhill in the final to be able to get the win today.”
For highlights of Bjorgen’s win, check out this clip from Universal Sports.
It was a banner day for Norway all around, as in addition to Bjorgen’s victory in the women’s sprint, the men’s sprint was won by a Norwegian, Ola Vigen Hattestad. His teammate, Eirik Brandsdal, was second, followed by another German, Jozef Wenzl, in third.
Despite losing out to the Norway duo, Wenzl did manage to take the overall World Cup sprint lead over Italy’s Federico Pellegrino, who finished 16th today on home ground. Simi Hamilton, entering his second Olympics, finished 14th to lead the American men.
As for Randall, it would appear that all systems are indeed a go on her end as she now turns her attention to Sochi:
A second American woman cracked the Top 20, with Sophie Caldwell finishing 19th. Jessie Diggins, who won the 2013 World Championship in the team sprint with Randall, was 28th.
Best of Sochi
Best of day 4