After stage three of four in the mini-tour, Kikkan Randall remained in her third overall position as the tour heads into its finale on Sunday in Falun, Sweden. Here she is (black) at World Champs. (Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team)
FALUN, Sweden (March 23) – Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) remained in her third overall position Saturday after the women’s 10k classic as the mini-tour heads into its finale on Sunday in Falun, Sweden. Randall extended her lead over Norway's Kristin Stoermer Stiera to 112 points, but with fellow Norwegians Heidi Weng and Marit Bjoergen climbing in the standings, the finale will prove to be a fierce battle for the overall third spot. Saturday's race, stage three of four in the mini-tour, found Randall over a minute back in 19th place with teammate Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) just behind in 21st. Norway’s Marit Bjoergen won the race and led the Norwegian sweep.
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) remained in her third overall position Saturday after the women’s 10k classic.
Randall extended her lead over Norway's Kristin Stoermer Stiera to 112 points, but with fellow Norwegians Heidi Weng and Marit Bjoergen climbing in the standings, the finale will prove to be a fierce battle for the overall third spot.
Randall is now 15th in the mini-tour, 2:52.3 behind leader Marit Bjoergen. Weng is sixth, with Steira well back in 29th.
Sunday's pursuit start will be seeded by tour standings, with Bjoergen starting 45 seconds ahead of second place Justyna Kowalcyk from Poland.
If Bjoergen wins, Randall needs to finish 16th or higher to stay in third. Weng would need to finish at least second, which will require gaining over a minute on Kowalcyk to unseat Randall.
Saturday’s race, stage three of four in the mini-tour, found Randall over a minute back in 19th place with teammate Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) just behind in 21st.
Randall and Stephen skied together most of the race.
Norway’s Marit Bjoergen won the women’s race and led the Norwegian sweep.
In the men’s 15k race, Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) had the top finish in 25th, while Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) took 38th and Torin Koos (Wenatchee, WA) 39th.
Eldar Roenning from Norway won the men’s race.
The mini-tour heads into its finale, a 10k/15k freestyle pursuit, on Sunday in Falun, Sweden.
QUOTES Kikkan Randall It was kind of nice to be racing alongside Steira today, knowing that she wasn't scoring a bunch of more points over me. It's going to be a real battle tomorrow for me to score enough points to stay ahead of both Bjoergen and Weng. I would love to hang on for third place overall. I must fight for every place tomorrow.
The top 10 (Sunday) is achievable if I can start off aggressively and try to bridge the 15 seconds gap. There are lots of good skiers close behind also so it's going to be a good battle. I will try a go after as many places as I can.
Today was a decent race for me. I felt more improvement over where I've been with my distance racing the last several weeks but I'm not quite back to the form I had at the beginning of the season. The pace was quite high from the start. The opening few minutes felt okay but then I felt a little unfamiliar with holding that high pace in the middle of the race. It was really helpful for me to ski with Liz during the second and third laps. Her tempo was a little higher and it was the kick I needed. Towards the end of the race I still had good power in the movements and skiers were starting to come back to us.
Chris Grover, Head Cross Country Coach Overall we are satisfied with the day. It wasn't our strongest performance, but we had four in the points. The women will come back strong in skating tomorrow. With third in the World Cup at stake, Kikkan will be racing as hard as possible tomorrow. Good race for Continental Cup leader Rosie Brennan today - much more competitive.
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