Top News Stories

Recent Videos

USA’s Sophie Caldwell Takes Career-best 2nd in Women’s Sprint FR Opener at Tour de Ski


December 30, 2017 (Lenzerheide, SUI) – American Sophie Caldwell lit up the scoreboard at the opening round of the Tour de Ski in Switzerland  landing second on the final podium in the women’s Sprint FR as local star, Laurien Van Der Graaf thrilled the home crowd winning her first ever World Cup event.

Women's podium [P] Nordic Focus
Caldwell’s teammate Jessie Diggins also made the final but broke a pole mid-race ending up fifth as five US skiers made the heats. Sadie Bjornsen  ended up 14th, Rosie Brennan raced to 15th and Ida Sargent was 20th. No Canadian women are racing. The finish was Caldwell’s best-ever freestyle sprint result. She has the distinction as well of winning the USA’s first classic sprint World Cup.

“I was really happy with my race today. I love this course and I was psyched to have some good feelings today,” said Caldwell who qualified third just behind Diggins. “It’s a tricky course because it’s at altitude, so pacing is important. I’m hoping to carry this momentum through the next few races of Tour.”

Diggins exchanges pole in the women's final [P]
Diggins who qualified second suffered two broken poles but never gave up. “I was really proud of how I skied today. I raced with guts and never, never, never gave up, and my fitness is definitely there and ready for a good Tour. It feels good to feel strong, and not tired! Wow!

Caldwell and Brennan in their 1/4 final [P]
“In the quarterfinal, I was coming around the corner and someone kicked the tip of my pole just as I’d planted all my weight on my poles to turn the corner, so it shattered. Eli came running with a really amazing javelin throw of a spare pole, (I mean, you should go watch, it was epic) but I was already too far down the track and I knew I needed to stay closer to the pack if I was going to have a chance,” shared Diggins. “I stayed calm, knowing that I felt amazing and I still had a chance to make it out of the heat if I could get another pole quickly. After rounding the corner and skiing another 50 meters one-poled Matt came running with a tall spare pole and I was able to just put the hammer down and get back into it.

Caldwell won her quarterfinal and was second in her semi – her strategy was to ski smoothly from start to finish, saving some pop for the finishing stretch. In the final she was in the mix from the start but Van Der Graaf was on fire at the end.

“I got a little tired in the final stretch, but was thrilled with second place,” added Caldwell. “This result definitely gives me a boost of confidence going forward. It was also really fun to ski some heats with Jessie as we train with each other all summer and fall. I’m very impressed with her result, especially since she broke two poles. Our techs did an incredible job with skis and my tech and I chose a pair that felt like they were climbing really well.”

Sophie Caldwell [P] Nordic Focus
Bjornsen is ready for more. “Congrats to Soph on one seriously beautiful race! It wasn’t quite the day I was dreaming of. I got pretty boxed in when I was finally starting to get some good momentum at the end of the heat. With the new snow, it made for some tactical skiing, which I have never been the best at. Today leaves me with some extra fight for day 2, and another good sprint day to come,” said Bjornsen.

Brennan also welcomes more opportunities. “I worked hard on my sprinting all summer in hopes of being able to be more competitive in Tour events so I am thrilled to have a strong result to back my summer training. Christmas break is always challenging because it’s not all that long and it’s a hard balance of rest and training. I managed to stay healthy over the holidays so I think this result lets me know I did a good job with  my training and my fitness is still good. The Tour is long though and a lot can happen so I’m doing my best to take it day by day and put my best foot forward. A good start gives me a lot of confidence so I am looking forward to the coming days.”

Randall was hoping for more and needs to work through a rough start to the Tour. “Great to see the girls in the final. Sophie skied a strong and smart race.  I had a feeling this was going to be a good race for her. Bummer that Jessie broke a pole going into the 2nd lap because she had been skiing well all day.  Not a great one for me. Foot didn’t bother me during the race but my body felt a little flat. The last few weeks of non-traditional training may have just left me out of race tune. Will be working hard over the next couple weeks to get it back,” said Randall.

Qualifications here.
Results here.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.