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USA 8th as Italy Takes Debut Team Sprint FIS XC World Cup in Dresden


January 14, 2018 (Dresden, Germany) – Italy’s Federico Pellegrino out-foxed his rivals to take the men’s Team Sprint at the debut World Cup in Dresden’s Old town along the banks of the Elbe river with over Norway settling for second at only 0.18 behind with France in third.

Men's podium [P] Nordic Focus
The USA’s Erik Bjornsen and Simi Hamilton were mid-field for most of the 6 x 1.2km race and then Bjornsen kicked on his final leg to bring them as high as third. A fateful crash just before the finishing straight saw Hamitlon go down and cross the line 8th.

“Simi and I proved again that we can fight for a podium in the team sprint. The course was flat and short, two qualities in a course I don’t enjoy,” said Bjornsen. “I used my endurance to my advantage so on the last lap I decided to go from the start. I passed a long line of guys on the outside and closed the gap to the Norwegian team. Two sprinters, Emil and Jovien were able to catch my draft and passed me in the last part of the course.”

Simi Hamilton [P] Nordic Focus
“Erik skied an amazing last lap, closing down the gap to the Norwegian off the front, and tagging me in 3rd. It was a really tough decision to make to decide wether to try to ski as hard as possible to try to close the gap up to the Swede and the Swiss skier or to save a little bit of energy for the second half of the course and the sprint,” explained Hamilton.

“So I didn’t focus on catching them right away and instead just tried to ski efficient as possible. I pulled our pack back up to them and when we made contact with them with about 200 meters to go… I knew that we could still fight for a podium finish,” he continued.

But Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR) and Lucas Chanavat (FRA) were making their moves as well taking over the lead with Pellegrino marking them from behind. He got himself to the front with less than 500m to the finish and held off a hard-charging Klaebo by just 0.18.

As they rounded the final corner into the finishing lanes Hamitlon found himself on the snow. “Right at the start of the finishing lanes Klaebo kind of stepped to the right a bit and clipped my skis, sending me face first into his pole which broke across my face. I took a decent beating and ended up with some carbon fiber fragments in my lip. Everything will heal up just fine but I’m really psyched about how we skied today, especially on a course that didn’t really suit either of our strengths too well,” added Hamilton.

Bjornsen felt good about the day as well. “I was happy with my race. Simi skied very well, but unfortunately he had some bad luck in the last 20 seconds of the race. Luckily we have another shot soon on the big stage,” he concluded.

Results here.

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