(Dresden, Germany) Sweden's Hanna Falk and Italy's Federico Pellegrino have won the first ever City Sprints in Dresden, Germany. The 1.2 km course took place along the banks of the Elbe river with the city's Old town district in view across the water. It was a first win for both athletes this season and the first win for Falk since January 2010 in Otepaa, Estonia.
Despite being the day's fastest qualifier on Falk made it into the ladies' final as one of two lucky losers. Learning from her semi-final she took control of the final early and held on all the way to the line. Stina Nilsson (SWE), the overall sprint World Cup leader fell in the final and yet there were still two Swedish athletes on the podium. Sweden had 4 of 6 spots in the ladies' final with 5 of the top qualifiers present. The USA's Sophie Caldwell - the other lucky loser in the final - was 11th in qualification and took third place today for her second consecutive skate sprint podium. In second place today was Sweden's Maja Dahlqvist just 0.23 seconds behind her teammate Falk. It is Dahlqvist's first ever World Cup podium. The top 5 in the final were separated by just 0.68 seconds.
With an impressive tactical move in the men's final Italy's Federico Pellegrino reminded the sprint world why he was the overall Sprint Champion just two years ago. Head to head against the sport's rising sprint stars - Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR) and Lucas Chanavat (FRA) - Pellegrino got himself to the front with less than 500m to the finish and held off a hard charging Klaebo by just 0.18. Chanavat recorded his second consecutive third place finish after earning his first ever World Cup podium in Lenzerheide, Switzerland during the Tour de Ski. Klaebo and Chanavat both said that they were watching each other and Pellegrino caught them off guard.
Sprint action continues tomorrow with Team sprint competitions along the same course as today.
Hanna Falk (SWE)
It was just the time to get the World Cup victory. Last time I won a World Cup race was in 2010 in Otepää. It is great to be back. The whole Swedish team was strong today. We had four girls in the final, it was a good day for Sweden. I have one month training behind me. I wanted to stay focused and I was just happy to be competing again. I love city sprints and it was great fun to compete.
Maja Dahlqvist (SWE)
It was great to compete in Dresden. I am really happy for the first podium of my career.
Sophie Caldwell (USA)
The Swedish team was very strong today. I am always happy to be in
the final and to be around the podium. Being third today is great. The
crowd was amazing along the course.
It has been a strong year for me. I am proud to be on the US team.
Federico Pellegrino (ITA)
When I will have grandchildren this will be the story I am going to tell
them, that I beat Johannes. I always try to do my best, if the best measn
the victory it’s great. It was a really good show. I prefer vourses with
¨more hills. Yesterday I changed the way I was thinking about the race.
Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR)
It was a tough race. Me and Lucas wanted to go pretty hard from
the start. Both of us were maybe to fast at the beginning
Pellegrino was stronger and faster. It was cool to compete in Dresden, I
have not skied a city sprint. It’s not easy to compete on a flat
course like this. I had to be smart. It was a nice show.
Lucas Chanavat (FRA)
I am not surprised I finsihed on the dpoium. I wanted to give my best. I was focused on Johannes and I waslittle bit surprised that Pellegirno cvame from behind. The gap between me and Johanens is getting smaller in every race. So I am headid in the right direction.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - 1.2 km Sprint F
1. FALK Hanna SWE 2:11.02
2. DAHLQVIST Maja SWE +0.23
3. CALDWELL Sophie USA +0.30
4. VAN DER GRAAFF Laurien SUI +0.58
5. DYVIK Anna YC SWE +0.68
6. NILSSON Stina SWE +7.56
1. PELLEGRINO Federico ITA 1:52.77
2. KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot NOR +0.18
3. CHANAVAT Lucas FRA +0.98
4. JOUVE Richard FRA +1.23
5. JOENSSON Emil SWE +2.36
6. NORTHUG Even NOR +12.04
OVERALL WORLD CUP SPRINT STANDINGS
1. NILSSON Stina SWE 235 pts
2. FALLA Maiken Caspersen NOR 223
3. CALDWELL Sophie USA 197
1. KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot NOR 330 pts
2. PELLEGRINO Federico ITA 275
3. BOLSHUNOV Alexander RUS 178