*A special thanks to the Organizing Committees (OCs) in Lahti and Planica for their Cup summaries
SCANDINAVIAN CUP - Lahti, Finland
SATURDAY 7 January, 2017
Swedes celebrate in Scandinavia Cup sprints
Sweden took a double victory in both Ladies’ and Men’s sprints in Scandinavia Cup in Lahti. Altogether 71 women and 150 men participated in sprints. Qualification was held in dense snowfall, which calmed down before the heats. For athletes today’s competition offered a great chance to test World Championships’ tracks six weeks before the big event.
In ladies’ semifinals the fastest skier was Marthe Kristoffersen from Norway, before Sweden’s Hanna Falk and Anna
Falk, who currently holds the sixth place in Sprint World cup, dominated the final, winning by a margin of over five seconds. Anna Dyvik from Sweden was second and Marthe Kristoffersen third.
Falk was happy with the upcoming World Championships’ arena and tracks. "It was really fun to ski here in Lahti and it was good to try the tracks for the World Championships. I felt strong, it is a very good track for me."
In men’s sprint Oskar Svensson from Sweden took the victory before Karl-Johan Westberg, also from Sweden, and Norway’s Sindre Björnestaad Skar. "Today was really good although I felt a little bit tired in the semifinals. The final was just great," commented Svensson.
SUNDAY 8 January, 2017
Justyna Kowalczyk won ladies’ 10k in Lahti
Sunday in Lahti Ski Games started with Scandinavia Cup Ladies’ 10 k classic. Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk was the winner of today’s race with time 26:07:07.
Kowalczyk dominated the race throughout the competition. Yesterday’s winner Hanna Falk was 2nd, 20 seconds behind the winner. Falk had also a well-balanced competition, being 2nd in every phase of the race. Anna Dyvik placed 3rd, 45 seconds behind Kowalczyk.
"This was a good and hard race. I’m satisfied and I think my shape is getting better and better week after week. I think this is one of the hardest tracks I’ve competed in my life. It’s good for classic style, with not so much double pull. I think that the World Championships will be very good for us athletes and for spectators," said Kowalczyk.
Altogether 87 athletes participated in ladies' competition.
Iivo Niskanen wins 15k in Lahti
188 skiers took part in the world-class Scandinavia Cup competition today in Lahti. Iivo Niskanen dominated the competition throughout the race. Athletes praised the tracks which will be also the competition arenas for this winter’s World Championships.
Iivo Niskanen, who cut his Tour de Ski journey short to participate in Scandinavian cup in Lahti, was the winner of the race with time 34:24:04. Norwegian Johannes Høsflot Klæbo took the 2nd place 5,8 seconds behind Niskanen and Mattis Stenshagen, also from Norway, was 3rd 13,4 seconds behind the winner.
"It was a well-balanced race for me. These World Championships’ tracks suit me. Heavy tracks are good for those who are in a good shape, so of course it’s my goal to be in top form at World Championships. This race gave me a great chance to try out these tracks with competition speed. I’ll definitely keep this experience in mind when I get ready for the World Championships," said Niskanen.
"I started pretty slow but then I had pretty good finish. It’s a pretty cool track here at Lahti and I think it will be cool race at the World Championships here. This was a great day for me. Now it’s important for me to qualify to the World Championships," Klæbo commented.
OPA CUP - Planica, Slovenia
SATURDAY 7 January, 2017 - 10 km F
Pellegrini and Tiberghien the best in Planica
Friday’s sprint races were followed by individual competition of the FIS-OPA Continental Cup in Planica. Today 330 athletes from 26 countries battled on the Nordic Centre’s 2.5 kilometre track.
On the men’s side the French were dominant and took the first four places of the 10 km race, with the best three being Jean Tiberghien, Mickael Philipot and Valentin Chauvin. The fastest female skier was Italian Sara Pellegrini, her teammate Caterina Ganz took the second place, while Frenchwoman Delphine Claudel finished third.
Laura Chamiot of France was victorious in women’s U20 race and was followed by Anna Comarella from Italy and Barbara Walchhofer from Austria. German Janosch Brugger won again in U20 men’s competition, Frenchmen Hugo Lapalus was second and Italian Jean Luc Perron third.
I was in good shape and with good skis. The race was really close and the difference between us was made in the last lap. I had a good feeling in the last lap and I’m very happy with today’s victory. It’s my first win in this competition, which is good for the rest of the season.
It’s a good day for the French team. I think we had really good skis, so I have to say thank you to my coach. I had a good feeling, had a good tempo, so everything worked out well.
I'm very happy with my race, the track was very demanding and it was very cold but luckily there was not as much wind as yesterday. I felt good during the race and was able to do my best, so I am very happy with this victory. The skis were really fast, thanks to the service for their work.
Today was very cold and I got a bit of problems for this reason but I’m still satisfied with my second place and even for the first of my friend Sara. The track was perfect and I loved it. Tomorrow is another day and I hope to do well in order to bring home the yellow bib with me.
The race was good, I had good feelings and I like the track. My biggest goal was yesterdays race not this one, so I’m a bit surprised with the result but very happy. It was very cold today but I managed not to have problems with this.
SUNDAY 8 January, 2017 - 10/15 km C
Baudin and Noeckler take top spots in classic competitions
The FIS-OPA Continental Cup in Planica came to a close with races in classic technique. Today Nordic Center hosted more than 200 athletes who took care of another exciting competition.
The 15 km race was won by Italian Dietmar Noeckler who beat Ueli Schnider of Switzerland with just a 0,8 second advantage, while the third place belonged to Damien Tarantola of France. Two Italians Francesca Baudin and Caterina Ganz were the fastest amongst ladies in 10 km race, while Laura Gimmler from Germany finished third.
On the men’s side of U20 10 km competition Janosch Brugger from Germany took another first place, finishing with hat-trick. Two Frenchmen Martin Collet and Camille Laude also stepped on the podium. U20 7,5 km women’s race was won by Anna Comarella of Italy, German Coletta Rydzek was second and Swiss Desiree Steiner third.
The conditions were perfect the organizer did a great job. I have good memories of Planica from the last year when I won the team sprint together with Federico Pellegrino. It was a hard race today, till the very end. I was ahead by just 0,8 second and this is my first victory in the season, which didn’t start so good. I hope to get in better shape for World Championships in Lahti.
It was nice to ski here, the conditions on the track were perfect. The only less positive thing is that we only had 300 meter loop on the flat to test our skis, we didn’t have a chance to test our skis on the track. But otherwise I like to ski here in Planica. I felt good today, came in second and I’m satisfied with this result. But I can get even better.
The conditions were good, I had a good feeling and had good skis. I’m in a good shape and it was a good day today in Planica. We’ll see how the rest of the season goes.
I felt good and I’m very happy with the result because this is my first win of the season. I’m very satisfied and looking forward to the future.
I felt good today and I’m happy with the result, especially for receiving the yellow bib.
In the beginning I started slow but later I got faster. I’m satisfied with today’s race. The track was good and I had fun.