In the second stage of the mini-tour on Friday, Kikkan Randall skied into third place, leading three Americans into the top eight in Falun, Sweden. Here she is (right) racing in Lahti, Finland. (Getty Images/AFP/Heikki Saukkomaa)
FALUN, Sweden (March 22) – In the second stage of the mini-tour on Friday, Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) skied into third place, leading three Americans into the top eight. Along with her third place finish, Randall earned bonus time for the next stage of the tour. Norwegian powerhouse Marit Bjoergen took the win. After the men’s race, Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) moved into eighth place in the mini-tour overall standings, the top spot for the U.S., as the tour heads into its third stage on Saturday.
World Champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) skied into third place during the 2.5k freestyle race, the second stage of the mini-tour on Friday in Falun, Sweden.
Along with her third place finish, Randall earned bonus time for the next stage of the tour.
Randall sits in ninth place in the mini-tour overall standings, the top spot for U.S women.
Holly Brooks (Anchorage) skied a hard race, finishing seventh while Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) finished right behind her in eighth.
Norwegian powerhouse Marit Bjoergen won the women’s race.
Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) had the top finish for U.S. men in 16th.
Newell sits in eighth place in the overall mini-tour standings, the top spot for the U.S.
The women’s course was 2.5k and men’s 3.75k, longer than sprint but shorter than the shortest typical distance race.
Friday’s course featured a significant climb to the midway point then a high-consequence, twisting downhill, which raised controversy with athletes.
The issue was resolved when organizers took the top of the planned hill out of the course.
Friday’s races were the second stage of the four-stage mini-tour. The tour continues Saturday with a men’s 15k classic mass start and women’s 10k classic mass start.
QUOTES Kikkan Randall The times were really tight out there and I'm happy to be on the podium. I think we had great skis today and I'm really psyched for our performance as a team. Two more races to go now, hope we can keep this momentum rolling! The course was short but challenging. The downhill turn that everyone was concerned about was definitely a little wild but safe enough.
It's been an interesting last 24 hours here in Falun, but with a seemingly happy ending. Yesterday after previewing the course there were concerns from several athletes that the new technical downhill section was going to be unsafe. We called an athletes meeting and went back and forth with the jury to try and find a compromise on a safer course. For me, as the athlete rep, it was a lot of running around yesterday. But in the end I'm glad we found a good solution and everyone agreed to start today.
Jessie Diggins It felt good to race a skate prologue - I really like this distance. It was also nice to get a good race feeling back! I had been feeling really tired and pretty done after World Champs, but today my body was ready for one last race series as we finish World Cup Finals. The coaches did a fantastic job on the skis and it's really exciting to have three girls in the top eight! It really boosts confidence and it's always nice to end the season on a high note.
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