March 12, 2017 (Oslo, Norway) – Kikkan Randall led the USA with a solid 20th-place finish in the women’s 30k Classic as Norway’s Marit Bjoergen dominated the field with a resounding 6th consecutive victory.
Finland’s Krista Parmakoski claimed second at 2:05.8 behind with teammate Kerttu Niskanen two seconds back marking the first time that two female athletes from Finland have shared a World Cup podium since 2009.
Randall’s teammate Sadie Bjornsen finished 24th with Liz Stephen 31st, Chelsea Holmes was 39th while Rosie Brennan did not finish. No Canadians competed.
“I was more relaxed today than in Lahti. It was a different morning. I woke up with my son today and played with him. My plan was always to go fast from the beginning if my body felt good and it did. I kept pushing the whole race even though I had an early lead but I did look from my son as I was coming to the finish but I didn’t see him,” said Bjoergen.
Weather overnight before the women’s race made for potentially challenging conditions. Bjoergen pushed a fast pace right from the beginning with a fast first five kilometers.
“I was tired after Lahti WSC and my motivation wasn’t so high. It was nice to just be at home with my son. But it’s Holmenkollen and it’s easy to get motivated for,” added the winner.
Randall ended up further back than she wanted in the early stages but settled in with a pack around 30th place on the first long lap, skiing with that pack and starting to move up around the halfway mark.
“Finishing 20th today achieved my goal and I’m satisfied with the effort I had today,” said Randall. “My energy was really steady the whole race. I’m still missing my powerful start gear so that will be something to work on before next season. Classic has been a little rusty for me this season so to have a solid one today is a good step in the right direction!”
Bjornsen had challenges in the race but was found some a silver lining. “I had a great start, and started to struggle a bit midway through the race,” she said. “I was struggling to make my skis work, and should have made the exchange with skis at 15k, but I missed it, and then wanted to stay with the group I was skiing with at 21k. So, again, failed to switch skis.
“I think that was unfortunately the big mistake of the day, but I had some silver lining in that race. Another result that the number isn’t where I want, but there are some good feelings and hope for next weekend to wrap up this season,” commented Bjornsen.
“After three and a half months on the road with the family, I’m really looking forward to heading back to North America this next week to compete in the World Cup Finals in Quebec City,” added Randall. “My shape is still strong and I’m looking forward to a few more skate races! The last time I raced in Quebec the atmosphere with the U.S. fans was amazing – I hope we see that again!”