(Lillehammer, Norway) Maiken Caspersen Falla and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo both of Norway thrilled the local Lillehammer crowd with their respective classic sprint victories. For Falla it was an excellent rebound after the frustrating opening weekend in Ruka where she failed to qualify in the sprint. While for Klaebo it was his 4th win in 4 competitions this season.
Falla lives just a 20 minute ski from the Birkebeiner Ski Stadium and knows the sprint course well and it was evident today as she powered away from the field on the final climb. She crossed the line +2.07 seconds ahead of second place finisher Krista Paramkoski of Finland. With her result today Parmakoski is now the overall World Cup sprint leader after two competitions. For the second time in a row the USA's Sadie Bjornsen recorded a podium with her third place finish +5.01 back of Falla.
In the men's sprint it looked like Klaebo was going to be in tough against Russia's Sergey Ustiugov after their semi-final together. Learning from the semi Klaebo altered his tactics and followed Ustiugov down the final hill and swung around on the final curve into the finishing stretch to victory.
Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR)
After Ruka I was really disappointed but bad skis is something that happens in our sport sometimes. But I was feeling good. I was focused in the prologue and in all the heats. I had to be focused in every heat. I was not thinking about the final. I felt my strength on this course was the final climb and the downhill to the stadium.
Krista Parmakoski (FIN)
Before Ruka I had the flu. Since then I have been feeling better and better. I like the early starts. It was a good day for me. In every heat I was feeling better.
Sadie Bjornsen (USA)
The strong qualification today gave me confidence. I had a good feeling. When I was going to the heats the feeling was still good. The podium today is not as surprising as last week but still ą nice surprise. ON the top of the last climb my legs were really dead. I had unbelievably fast skis today. I knew that would be good for the finishing stretch where I knew I would be feeling good. I came with Stina to the last banner before the home stretch.
Johannes Hoeslfot Klaebo (NOR)
I felt strong in the prologue but I lost little bit in my semifinal. I had to change the tactic for the final and wanted to be second before the last downhill and push hard on the home stretch. In the final Bolshunov was skiing very fast right from the start. I had to push hard to keep up with him. Ustiugov attacked before the last uphilll and I had to be working hard to keep the position where I wanted to be.
Sergey Ustiugov (RUS)
It is nice to record the first podium of the season. I hope it’s not the last one. I felt much better this weekend. The final was good for Russia. Klaebo was at the moment too strong for us.
LADIES 1.3 km Sprint C
1. FALLA Maiken Caspersen NOR 3:19.98
2. PARMAKOSKI Krista FIN +2.07
3. BJORNSEN Sadie USA +5.01
4. OESTBERG Ingvild Flugstad NOR +5.28
5. NILSSON Stina SWE +6.09
6. DIGGINS Jessica USA +7.81
MEN 1.5 km Sprint C
1. KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot NOR 3:33.88
2. USTIUGOV Sergey RUS +0.83
3. BOLSHUNOV Alexander RUS +1.29
4. HALFVARSSON Calle SWE +1.64
5. IVERSEN Emil NOR +8.20
6. FOSSLI Sondre Turvoll NOR +17.30
OVERALL WORLD CUP SPRINT STANDINGS
1. PARMAKOSKI Krista FIN 114 pts
2. BJORNSEN Sadie USA 106
3. FALLA Maiken Caspersen NOR 100
1. KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot NOR 150 pts
2. HALFVARSSON Calle SWE 93
3. BOLSHUNOV Alexander RUS 90