Eirik Brandsdal and Laurien Van der Graaf Speed to Victory at Bysprinten
No snow-speed records were broken at the sixth edition of Bysprinten, but the annual two-day ski festival on the streets of Mosjøen, Norway provided plenty of excitement for the 3,000 spectators who came out to see their favorite national team members ski as fast as possible. On Saturday, Eirik Brandsdal (NOR) prevailed in the men’s final sprint, and Laurien Van der Graaf (SUI) topped the women’s field.
“I am very fond of Bysprinten. I often do it well and it’s fun to go with so many people in the streets,” said Brandsdal.
Petter Northug, whose presence at the event was the most highly anticipated, provided a bit of drama in the semifinals when he tangled with Øystein Pettersen (NOR) and appeared to be out for the final. The jury ruled that Pettersen had blocked Northug, however, and sent him through. Northug ended up finishing fourth.
The Norwegian celebrity made no excuses — “I’ve relaxed on the couch for three months, so my ass is getting a little wide. I am not quite in top shape today,” he told the NRK.
In addition to the 1.5 k, the day’s program included a youth sprint, an elite 100 m individual sprint, and a “brothers relay” that set the Petter and Tomas Northug against Renato and Fabio Pasini (ITA) and Anders and Kristian Tettli Rennemo (NOR).
The Northugs lived up to their promise to “defend the family honor,” and defeated the Pasinis in second and the Rennemos in third.
In the 100 m dash, organizers had a radar gun on hand in anticipation of witnessing a new world record, but it was not to be — local newspapers reported that the direction of the straightaway was into the wind. Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) clocked in at 12.39 for the win over Petter Northug in second (12.60) and Anders Gløersen (NOR) in third (12.63).
“It was really fun to go today. I was not as good technically, but I did everything I could,” said Hattestad to the NRK.
Van der Graaf dominated the day from the get-go, taking the women’s 100 m in 13:48. Slovenia’s Katja Visnar took second (13.83) followed by Mari Eide (NOR) in third (13.96).
“It has been really fun and I enjoyed myself,” said Van der Graaf.
Contributed by www.fasterskier.com