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USA’s Caldwell Wins Women’s Sprint FR in Historic World Cup Tie at Seefeld – Canada’s Beatty Grabs Top 20


January 27, 2018 (Seefeld, Austria) – The USA’s Sophie Caldwell took home a special victory in the women’s 1.1km Freestyle sprint event with Laurien van der Graaf (Sui) joining her on the top step of the podium as FIS declared a first-ever World Cup tie. Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla was third.

Sophie Caldwell [P] Nordic Focus
“I was not expecting to take the win and didn’t realize I had tied for first until 20 minutes after the race had ended,” said Caldwell. “Any day in the final is a good day, any day on the podium is a good day, so of course I’m thrilled with a win.”

Women's podium [P] Nordic Focus
Caldwell found herself up against Norway’s powerhouse skier Maiken Kaspersen Falla in every heat, taking down the Norwegian star in both the semifinals and finals. Falla set a torrid pace in the final round, but Caldwell never left her tails. In a field sprint to the finish, Caldwell powered by Falla while van der Graaf came charging up the other side to grab a tie with Caldwell in a photo finish that could not be separated.

Sadie Bjornsen [P] Nordic Focus
Bjornsen made the final as well finishing 6th. She had a strong qualifier and set a goal of getting out of quarter finals for the first time in two years in a skate sprint. She clearly showed she was back to form after several weeks of recovery from the Tour de Ski. Kikkan Randall also made the heats finishing 14th on the day.

Kikkan Randall [P] Nordic Focus
“It was an incredible day out there today on the World Championship course for next year,” said Bjornsen. “It is fun to have our final preparation for the Olympics on our World Champs course for next year! I finally had some of my first good feelings since the Tour de Ski today, and had a ton of fun with it.”

Dahria Beatty (CAN) [P] Nordic Focus
Canada’s 23-year-old Dahria Beatty from Whitehorse was the lone Canuck to qualify for the women’s heats as she squeaked through after clocking the 30th fastest qualifying time. Beatty’s day came to an end after finishing fourth in her heat to post the second-best finish of her career in 20th place.

“It was great to feel like my body has started to come around again,” said Beatty. “I was able to push hard in the qualifier, and find enough to get through to the heats, which was a relief after a tougher start to the season. Overall I am really happy with how today went. It is my second-best World Cup result ever and best one I have ever had in Europe. To have a strong race in the final sprint before the Olympics is great for the energy going into the Games and was great to be able to race the heats on next year’s World Championships course.”

Bjornsen remains seventh in the overall FIS World Cup rankings, while teammate Jessie Diggins, who sat out the race, holds onto third. Diggins had planned to skip the freestyle sprint to pace herself going into PyeongChang. She is expected to compete in Sunday’s 10k freestyle mass start.

Qualifications here.
Results here.

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