Lillehammer Sprint Competition Preview

01 December 2017 10:58
Stina Nilsson SWE
Stina Nilsson SWE -
NordicFocus

PREVIEW Ladies' SPRINT CLASSIC STYLE – Saturday 2 Dec 2017

• Stina Nilsson (SWE) has won the last four sprint World Cup events (free and classic) and could become the second woman to win five in a row, after Marit Bjørgen (NOR) who won 11 in a row from 2003 to 2005.
• Bjørgen (2002/03, 2004/05 and 2014/15) and Petra Majdic (SLO, 2008/09) are the only women to have won the first two World Cup sprint events of a season.
• Nilsson has won each of the last six sprint World Cup events she participated in. The last time she failed to claim a victory was in the sprint free in Davos on 11 December 2016 (31st).
• 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.
• The last time she was beaten in the final was in Gatineau (Canada) on 1 March 2016, when Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR) won ahead of Nilsson in a sprint freestyle. The last time she lost in a final in a classic sprint was in Stockholm on 11 February 2016, finishing third behind Falla and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR).
• Nilsson is on 19 podium finishes in the sprint, one shy of Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) and Østberg (both 20) in joint-seventh place among women.
• Sadie Bjornsen (USA) finished second in the sprint last weekend and 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).
• Bjørgen (2014) and Heidi Weng (NOR, 2016) are the only women to have won a sprint in Lillehammer. Both these sprints were part of a Three-Days Tour.
• Weng is the only woman to have reached the podium on both occasions a sprint event was held in Lillehammer. She finished third in 2014.
• Norwegians have now failed to win the last eight World Cup sprint events. The last time they failed to win nine in a row was from 2007 to 2009, when they did not won 33 successive times.
• Ida Ingemarsdotter (SWE) has won two individual World Cup events, both in the sprint freestyle as she won in Milan (14 January 2012) and Szklarska Poreba (17 February 2012).
• Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) has finished on a sprint podium once, when she finished second behind Nilsson in Drammen (classic style) on 8 March 2017.
• The last Finnish woman to win a World Cup sprint event was in January 2013, when Mona-Liisa Nousiainen won in the classic style in Liberec.

PREVIEW Men's SPRINT CLASSIC STYLE 

• Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR) has won two World Cup sprint events as he won in Otepää in February and in Ruka last week.
• He can become only the second man to win the first two World Cup sprint events of a season, after Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) in 2008/09, who won the first three that season.
• Last season, only one man won successive World Cup sprint events. Sergey Ustiugov (RUS) won in Davos (11 December 2016) and in Val Müstair (31 December 2016), both in the freestyle.
• The last man to win successive classic sprints was Petter Northug in March 2013, when he won in Drammen and Stockholm.
• Klæbo, 21 years and 41 days old on Saturday is already the youngest World Cup sprint winner. He is still younger than Northug (21-063) was in 2007, the previous youngest World Cup sprint winner.
• Three men are on nine World Cup sprint victories: Eirik Brandsdal (NOR), Petter Northug (NOR) and Federico Pellegrino (ITA). They could become the fifth man to reach double figures, after Emil Jönsson (SWE, 16), Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR, 13), Tor Arne Hetland (NOR, 11) and Jens Arne Svartedal (NOR, 11).
• Pellegrino has won one sprint in the classic style, when he won in Canmore on 8 March 2016.
• Pellegrino (9) has at least five more World Cup sprint victories than any other man since the start of the 2014/15 season (Brandsdal, 4).
• Pål Golberg (NOR) has won three World Cup sprint events, including one in Lillehammer. In December 2014 (freestyle), he won ahead of Alexey Petukhov (RUS) and Finn Hågen Krogh (NOR). The only other World Cup sprint in Lillehammer was held in December 2016 (classic), when Calle Halfvarsson (SWE) won ahead of Emil Iversen (NOR) and Teodor Peterson (SWE).
• For Halfvarsson it was his first and so far only World Cup sprint victory in the classic style. He also has won one in the freestyle as he was victorious in Oberhof in December 2013.
• Alex Harvey (CAN) 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).
• Ristomatti Hakola (FIN) recorded his best sprint result in Ruka last week, finishing fourth. He can become the second Finnish man to win a World Cup sprint event, after Ari Palolahti (FIN) won in Milan (freestyle) in December 1997, the third ever World Cup sprint event held.
• The last Finnish man on the podium of a sprint was Toni Ketelä (FIN) in January 2015. He finished third in Otepää (classic).
• Norwegians have won 54 of the 78 classic sprints in the World Cup and have won 97 of the 183 sprint including freestyle.
Norway has recorded a 1-2 in three of the last four men's sprint events in the World Cup.