February 16, 2013 (Davos, Switzerland) – Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk dominated the women’s 1.5km CL Sprint on a tough course in Davos on Saturday, as Norway’s Marit Bjoergen claimed the silver and Finland’s Anne Kylloenen took home the bronze.
Sprint Cup leader, Kikkan Randall, skied well and smart winning her quarte final but slipping skis in her semi put her 4th in her heat and strong 8th overall, while Dasha Gaiazova, 29, the lone Canadian woman to advance through to the semis, finished a solid 12th.
“It was a good day for me. I always want to be in the final in every sprint and today I was darn close. I was mostly happy with how my body felt today. It’s been a couple weeks since we raced and we’ve been getting ready to peak for World Championships,” Randall shared with Trax. “So I have been very anxious to put my training to the test. I felt really strong in the qualifier and the quarterfinal today.
“I felt strong in the semifinal also but my skis were a little slick and I wasn’t able to keep my momentum up the hill like I had in the previous rounds. I am confident that if my skis had been a little better I could have challenged for the final. Today was a good confidence booster coming into the World Championships.”
Here’s what Randall had to say about the challenging uphill and demanding S-turn descent course in Davos… “Yes, it was a challenging course for sure. A long grind to the top and then a technical descent and then doing it a second time. The course actually skied better than I thought. You get a good rest off the downhill and can recharge enough for the next section. I really liked having the technical downhill in there. I am usually confident on the downhills and it was definitely a favorable element of the course for me today. I think I got a shout-out from the announcer for taking the turn like Ted Ligety, quite the compliment after this week!”
Vermont’s Ida Sargent also made the heats but struggled in her quarterfinal and was eliminated ending up 18th. “It was a hard 2-lap sprint course with not much rest. I had great skis today but didn’t ski my quarterfinal very well tactically,” said Sargent. “Striding is my strength so I need to find room to go on the hills rather than waiting for the double-pole finishing stretches which is an area I still need to improve on. Still it was a fun day, my energy was good, and I’m excited getting ready for Italy.”
Meanwhile Brooks, who finished 23rd overall, was all smiles having checked off one of her season goals …read on. “I’m happy whenever I score World Cup points! That said, I always have goals of doing better. However, today’s result allowed me to check off one of my goals for the season and that was to score points in all WC disciplines, skate distance, classic distance, skate sprint and today, classic sprint,” explained Brooks post-race.
“The course today was super hard, averaging 4 minutes for the women. There was a killer climb and an icy, “s-turn” descent. There were a number of crashes and close calls out there. My quarterfinal went out hard and the pace was difficult from the beginning. Justyna was in my heat so it strung out pretty fast. Tomorrow’s skate individual start is my favorite race of the entire year. Last year it was my best result so I’m hoping that I can have a good showing,” concluded Brooks.
The USA’s Sophie Caldwell and Sadie Bjornsen we just out of the running tied for 32nd while Canada’s Perianne Jones fell on the downhill during her qualification finishing 41st and teammate Andrea Dupont was 53rd.
“Today’s result is definitely bittersweet for me. I’m happy because it’s the best I’ve ever done in a World Cup classic sprint, so I feel like I’m heading in the right direction, but obviously I’d be happier if I had been able to ski the heats,” Caldwell told Trax. “I didn’t feel quite as snappy as I’ve felt the past few days…
“I got my wax dialed really well before going into the race but I think I underestimated how much kick you need when your legs get tired. The course was really long and technical with a lot of hills. My fitness feels really good right now and I’ve done a lot of racing in the past ten days so I’m looking forward to taking a few days easy and getting ready to go again,” added the Dartmouth skier.