(Lahti, Finland) Norway's Maiken Caspersen Falla and Italy's Federico Pellegrino World Sprint Champions from one year ago returned to their winning ways during the free technique sprints at the 2018 Lahti Ski Games. Both commented after their competitions that they knew how to win here last season and that they repeated it again today. In the ladies' final it was a very similar recipe to last year's World Champs where Falla push hard from the beginning and won from the front. However, in the men's race it was a game of "who wants to take the lead" and it was Pellegrino that took over coming down into the stadium.
Following Falla onto the podium was a pair of Swedes with Olympic sprint Champion Stina Nilsson in second place followed by Hanna Falk in third. With her win today Falla increased her lead in the overall World Cup sprint standings to 28 points over Nilsson with 150 total sprint points left this season.
With his win today Pellegrino became the most successful sprinter in free technique. It was his 10th victory in free technique. He was previously tied with Tor Arne Hetland at 9 for the most all-time. Russia's Gleb Retivykh took second place returned to the podium for the first time since last season where he won the classic sprint in PyeongChang. In third place was Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo. With this result today he captured his second consecutive overall World Cup Sprint champion crystal globe.
Competitions continue tomorrow with 10/15 km classic interval start events.
Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR)
I was really stressed in the prologue. In the heats I had a better feeling. In the final I had Stina and Hanna behind me and I knew both of them are really fast. I have a big respect for them and I am very happy I could win today.
Stina Nilsson (SWE)
I felt pretty good in the prologue but in the end I was missing some seconds which I probably lost after the start. In the heats I found my pace and I could keep all the way through to the final. In the final, I was not so fast after the start but I am happy to be on the podium again. It is very good for the sport that the battle for the Sprint crystal globe is still
Hanna Falk (SWE)
I had a very good qualification. I tried to fight in every heat. The final was hard but I am happy to be third today. I had a good speed before the last corner but it was always tight there. It was a tough fight between me and Sandra (Ringwald). I’m happy to be third
Federico Pellegrino (ITA)
Today was really good to push hard in the last 100 m. I lost too many races in the past when I was leading almost the whole race. Now, I am older and more experienced and I could use it today. I had really good legs and my skis were perfect. I know how to win on this course. I wanted so much to win today and take the lead with the most sprint free
victories from (Tor Arne) Hetland. I am looking forward to last two sprints of the season.
Gleb Retivykh (RUS)
I have been waiting quite long for the podium. Last time I was top 3 was in PyeongChang last year. So it feels great to be back. I am not surprised to be second because I knew I could do it. It feels great to be second. I am sharing the podium with 2 great athletes.
Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR)
There were two guys who faster than me today, so that’s fair I was 3rd today. In the final nobody really wanted to take the lead and set the pace. It was not easy to be in the front. In the last uphill it was tough. I had the opportunity but I missed it.
LADIES - 1.4 km
1. FALLA Maiken Caspersen NOR 2:54.83
2. NILSSON Stina SWE +0.36
3. FALK Hanna SWE +0.78
4. RINGWALD Sandra GER +0.88
5. INGEMARSDOTTER Ida SWE +1.83
6. VAN DER GRAAFF Laurien SUI +3.02
MEN - 1.6 km
1. PELLEGRINO Federico ITA 3:16.73
2. RETIVYKH Gleb RUS +0.77
3. KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot NOR +0.90
4. SKAR Sindre Bjoernestad NOR +1.30
5. HAKOLA Ristomatti FIN +1.44
6. CHANAVAT Lucas FRA +7.55
OVERALL WORLD CUP SPRINT STANDINGS
1. FALLA Maiken Caspersen NOR 443 pts
2. NILSSON Stina SWE 415
3. CALDWELL Sophie USA 358
1. KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot NOR 590 pts *Crystal Globe winner 2018
2. PELLEGRINO Federico ITA 425
3. CHANAVAT Lucas FRA 277