Davos Sprint Preview

08 December 2017 09:35
Sundby and Klaebo Lillehammer 2017
Sundby and Klaebo Lillehammer 2017 -
NordicFocus

PREVIEW Ladies' SPRINT FREESTYLE – Saturday 9 Dec 2017

• Stina Nilsson (SWE) won four sprint World Cup events (free and classic) in a row before finishing fifth last week in Lillehammer.
• In sprint freestyle events only, Nilsson has won the last three World Cup events, winning in Falun, Otepää and at the World Cup final in Quebec.
• The only woman to win four successive sprint freestyle events was Marit Bjørgen (NOR) when she won nine in a row between 2004 and 2005.
• Nilsson has won 10 sprint World Cup events in total and could surpass Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) in sixth place all-time among women. Kikkan Randall (USA) is in fifth place on 12 sprint victories.
• Nilsson is tied with Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR) and Bente Skari (NOR) on seven victories in the sprint freestyle in the World Cup in third place behind Bjørgen (24) and Randall (12).
• Nilsson has reached the final (top-6) of a World Cup sprint (free and classic) in each of the last five races, after she did not participate in PyeongChang on 3 February 2017.
• She has reached the final in each of her last seven sprint participations, after finishing 31st in Davos last year.
• Nilsson is on 19 podium finishes in the sprint, one shy of Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (both 20) in joint-seventh place among women.
• Falla has been on the podium in 21 sprint freestyle events, one short of Randall (22), who is in second place all-time behind Bjørgen (32).
• Falla won the classic sprint last week in Lillehammer, and she won the last sprint event held in Davos, which was a freestyle event on 11 December 2016.
• Falla could equal Petra Majdic (SLO) as only women to win the Davos sprint in succession. Majdic achieved this feat in December 2008 and December 2009.
• Falla has reached the final (top-6) of a World Cup sprint freestyle event in each of the last nine races. The last time she failed to reach the final was in Planica on 16 January 2016 (45th).
• Sadie Bjornsen (USA) finished third in the sprint last weekend, after finishing second in Ruka two weeks ago. She can become the third US woman to win a sprint event in the World Cup, after Randall (12 wins, all in freestyle) and Sophie Caldwell (USA, 1, in classic style).
• Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) finished on a sprint podium twice (both second places), in Drammen (classic style) on 8 March 2017 and in Lillehammer last week (classic style).
• The last Finnish woman to win a World Cup sprint event was in January 2013, when Mona-Liisa Nousiainen (FIN) won in the classic style in Liberec.
• Vesna Fabjan (SLO) is the only woman to have participated in all 11 World Cup sprint events in Davos. Her best result in Davos was a fourth place in December 2009 (freestyle).

 PREVIEW Men's SPRINT FREESTYLE 

• Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR) has won the first two sprint World Cup events of this season, the sprint classic in Lillehammer on 2 December and the sprint classic in Ruka (3-Days Tour) on 24 November.
• Klæbo could become the second athlete to win the opening three sprint events of a World Cup season after Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) in 2008/09. That run included a sprint freestyle victory in Davos.
• Klæbo has won five of the six World Cup events this season (including Tour stages and overall Tour wins), with a 51st-place finish in the 15km pursuit in Ruka (3-Days Tour) on 26 November as the only exception.
• Only Petter Northug (NOR) in 2011/12 and Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR) in 2015/16 have ever recorded six World Cup wins (including Tour stages and overall Tour wins) before the turn of the year.
• On 18 February, Klæbo won the sprint free in Otepää at 20 years and 119 days old to become the youngest ever individual World Cup winner (including Tour stages and overall Tour wins).
• The last five sprint freestyle events in the World Cup have seen five different winners. The last athlete to record back-to-back victories was Sergey Ustiugov (RUS) in December 2016 (Davos and Val Müstair).
• Alex Harvey (CAN) won the last sprint freestyle event at the World Cup Final in Quebec on 17 March. Harvey could become the first athlete from Canada with three sprint World Cup victories and seven podium spots. He currently shares both records with Devon Kershaw (CAN).
• Ustiugov and Federico Pellegrino (ITA) are the only two athletes with a top-three finish in a sprint free event in each of the last four World Cup seasons.
• Pellegrino has won two of the last three sprint World Cup events in Davos, both in freestyle. Only Bjørn Dæhlie (NOR, 4) is on more World Cup victories in the Swiss town (all disciplines) than Pellegrino (2).
• Pellegrino (9) could become the fifth athlete with at least 10 sprint World Cup wins (classic and free). Eirik Brandsdal (NOR) and Northug are also on nine sprint World Cup victories.
• No athlete has won more sprint World Cup events since the start of 2011/12 than Pellegrino (9). Brandsdal is on eight wins in this span.
• Finn Hågen Krogh (NOR) has reached the podium in four of his last five sprint free appearances in the World Cup and in three of his last four starts in this discipline in Davos.
• Only Alexey Petukhov (RUS, 4) has recorded more top-three finishes in the sprint free in Davos than Krogh (3).
• Calle Halfvarsson (SWE) is hoping to claim his second World Cup sprint victory in the freestyle after his win in Oberhof (Tour de Ski) in December 2013.
• Ristomatti Hakola (FIN) could become the second athlete from Finland to win a men's World Cup sprint event after Ari Palolahti (FIN), who won the sprint free in Milan in December 1997.

*Statistics provided by Gracenote