First World Cup wins for Caldwell and Iversen
The 4th stage of the FIS Tour de Ski saw first time winners in both the ladies' and men's 1.2 km classic sprint competitions. The USA's Sophie Caldwell and Norway's Emil Iversen beat some of the World Cup's best sprinters to capture their first wins.
For Caldwell - a regular in sprint finals this season - she becomes only the second US female to win a World Cup competition, and the first to do it in a classic sprint. Caldwell was solid all day on the tricky downhills and use that to her advantage to carry speed into the final 100 meters and just held off Norway's Heidi Weng who took second just +0.1 back. In third was the Overall Tour leader and current World Cup sprint leader Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg of Norway. With third place today Oestberg increased her lead over Therese Johaug to +30.1 seconds heading into the stage five 10km classic mass start competition. Johaug recorded a career first World Cup sprint final to take 5th place and limit her time loss to Oestberg.
Similar to the ladies' competition Norway's Iversen produced a surprise win over a final full of World Cup winners and Tour de Ski favourites. Iversen skied a great final downhill into the stadium and held enough speed to gap the field and stay away from Russia's Sergey Ustiugov who took second +1.03, and Kazakhstan's Alexey Poltoranin +1.40 in third.
Tour overall leader Martin Johnsrud Sundby took 4th in the men's final to gain a few more seconds over Petter Northug Jr in the Tour standings. Northug settled for 5th place in the finals. With his second place finish today Ustiugov leap frogged over Norway's Finn Hagen Krogh for 3rd overall in the Tour standings. Krogh fell in his semi-final heat at the start and did not advance to the finals.
Sophie Caldwell (USA)
It feels pretty amazing to win! I am usually stronger in skate sprints. It was a perfect day. My one goal for the final was go behind Ingvild and try to follow as far as I could. I was focused on the downhill where I knew my strength was. It worked very well for me in the finish.
Heidi Weng, NOR
It was very fun to ski today. I tried to ski easy in the downhills and ski fast on the climbs. It worked very well for me. I hope Therese will not go too fast from the start tomorrow. I will see if we can work with Ingvild
Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, NOR
I am happy with another podium. For sure I wanted to win but Sophie and Heidi were faster. It is so much fun to see Sophie and the U.S. Ski team win today. It would be nice to have more seconds on Therese but I am quite sure she will be on the top of the podium on Alpe Cermis. I will try to keep the red as long as possible.
Emil Iversen, NOR
I am so excited to win today. I am really surprised to be first. Ustiugov set the speed after the start and I tried to keep up. I was first on the top and I thought I could go for podium. I chose a good line in the downhill and to the finish. But I am still very much surprised to win.
Sergey Ustiugov, RUS
It is good to be on the podium but I am little bit tired of losing to a Norwegian all the time. I made a mistake in the last downhill and lost speed. That probably cost me the victory today.
LADIES 1.2 KM CLASSIC SPRINT
1. CALDWELL Sophie USA 2:46.38
2. WENG Heidi NOR 2:44.84 +0.10
3. OESTBERG Ingvild Flugstad NOR +0.80
4. INGEMARSDOTTER Ida SWE+3.95
5. JOHAUG Therese NOR +4.71
6. NILSSON Stina SWE +27.43
Complete results from ladies' sprint as available HERE.
LADIES - OVERALL TOUR STANDINGS
1. OESTBERG Ingvild Flugstad NOR 58:11.7
2. JOHAUG Therese NOR +30.1
3. WENG Heidi NOR +2:16.3
4. KYLLOENEN Anne FIN +3:19.6
5. KALLA Charlotte SWE +3:37.7
Complete Ladies' overall TOUR standings are available HERE.
MEN 1.2 KM CLASSIC SPRINT
1. IVERSEN Emil NOR 2:25.21
2. USTIUGOV Sergey RUS +1.03
3. POLTORANIN Alexey KAZ +1.40
4. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud NOR +4.86
5. NORTHUG Petter Jr. NOR +10.32
6. EISENLAUER Sebastian GER +14.19
Complete results from men's sprint are available HERE.
MEN - OVERALL TOUR STANDINGS
1. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud NOR 1:38:48.3
2. NORTHUG Petter Jr. NOR +1:33.6
3. USTIUGOV Sergey RUS +1:56.9
4. KROGH Finn Haagen NOR +2:13.4
5. POLTORANIN Alexey KAZ +2:40.9
Complete men's overall TOUR standings are available HERE.