Ruka Classic Sprint preview

24 November 2017 06:17
Eirik Brandsdal Drammen 2017
Eirik Brandsdal Drammen 2017 -
NordicFocus

PREVIEW Ladies' SPRINT CLASSIC STYLE – Friday 24 Nov 2017

• For the 10th season in a row, Ruka will host the first sprint event of the World Cup calendar (2008-2017).
• Marit Bjørgen (NOR) has won four of the previous 11 sprint World Cup events in Ruka (all classic style), most of all athletes and one more than Petra Majdic (SLO).
• Bjørgen's four sprint World Cup wins in Ruka, are joint-most for her at a single venue along with Lahti and Düsseldorf.
• Bjørgen is on five podium finishes in sprint World Cup events in Ruka, joint-most along with Majdic.
• Bjørgen has only recorded more sprint World Cup podium finishes in Davos (6) than in Ruka (5).
• Stina Nilsson (SWE) has won the last three sprint World Cup events (free and classic) and could become the first non-Norwegian to claim four victories in a row since Majdic in 2009.
• Nilsson has won each of the last five sprint World Cup events she participated in. The last time she failed to claim victory was in the sprint free in Davos on 11 December 2016 (31st).
• On 26 November 2016, Nilsson won the sprint classic in Ruka, her first ever World Cup victory in classic style.
• Only Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR, 10) has claimed more sprint World Cup wins since the start of 2014/15 than Nilsson (9).
• Last season's sprint World Cup winner Falla has reached the podium in 14 of her last 15 sprint World Cup appearances with a 31st-place finish in Drammen (classic style) on 8 March as the only exception.
• Falla is on 36 podium finishes in sprint World Cup events (both stylres), three more than Majdic and only trailing Bjørgen (59).
• Only Bjørgen (40), Majdic (20) and Bente Skari (NOR, 17) have won more sprint World Cup events than Falla (13).
• Ida Sargent (USA) is aiming to become the third athlete from United States to claim a sprint World Cup victory after Kikkan Randall (USA, 13) and Sophie Caldwell (USA, 1).
• Only Falla (8) and Nilsson (6) recorded more top-three finishes in sprint World Cup events last season than Hanna Falk (SWE, 5).
• Falk's last World Cup victory (all disciplines) came on 17 January 2010, when she won the sprint classic in Otepää.

PREVIEW Men's SPRINT CLASSIC STYLE – Friday 24 Nov 2017

• Norway has won nine of the previous 11 sprint World Cup events in Ruka (all classic style). Only Teodor Peterson (SWE) in 2011 and Nikita Kriukov (RUS) in 2012 managed to avoid Norwegian success in this span (2006-2016).
• Last year, Pål Golberg (NOR) won the sprint classic in Ruka on 26 November 2016, his first World Cup victory since his first-place finish in the sprint free at the 2014 3-Days Tour in Lillehammer.
• Golberg could become the third athlete with multiple sprint World Cup wins in Ruka after Eirik Brandsdal (NOR, 2) and Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR, 2).
• Brandsdal won the last sprint classic event of the 2016/17 World Cup season in Drammen. Brandsdal has reached the podium in each of his last four sprint World Cup appearances in Ruka.
• Brandsdal (4) has recorded most top-three finishes in sprint World Cup events in Ruka ahead of Kriukov (3) and Petter Northug (NOR, 3).
• Brandsdal (9) could become the fifth athlete with at least 10 sprint World Cup wins (classic and free). Northug and Federico Pellegrino (ITA) 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.
• Pellegrino is on 14 podium finishes in sprint World Cup events since 2012/13, most of all athletes in this period and one more than Brandstal and Finn Hågen Krogh (NOR).
• Last season's sprint World Cup winner Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR) recorded four top-three finishes in sprint World Cup events in 2016/17, joint most along with Sergey Ustiugov (RUS) and Finn Hågen Krogh (NOR).
• Klæbo claimed his first ever Word Cup podium spot in Ruka, as he recorded a third-place finish in the sprint classic event on 26 November 2016.
• At 20 years and 35 days, Klæbo became the second youngest athlete to claim a top-three finish in an individual World Cup event (including Tour stages and overall Tour wins) after Valdimir Smirnov (USR), who was 20 years and 16 days old when he finished runner up in the 15km classic in Murmansk in 1984.
• 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).
• Alex Harvey (CAN) won the last sprint event (freestyle) 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).