(Otepää, Estonia - 18 February 2017) Stina Nilsson of Sweden continued her career battle with Norway's Maiken Caspersen Falla in the ladies' free technique sprint and Norway's up and coming star Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo recorded his anticipated first World Cup win.
Nilsson moved into the lead 6-5 in free technique sprint wins versus Falla with her win today in Otepää. Nilsson was the day's fastest qualifier and in the end the day's final winner by 0.27 seconds ahead of Falla. Nilsson with 6 wins in skate sprints moves into a tie with Petra Majdic (SLO) and Arianna Follis (ITA) for 5th all time. Falla has now finished in the top two in 11 out of 12 of her last World Cup sprints in free technique. She has 5 wins and 6 second place finishes. In third place with Heidi Weng of Norway who continues to add to her Overall World Cup standings lead finishing +3.75 second behind Nilsson. Falla, despite giving up 20 points to Nilsson in the sprint standings continues to lead by 142 points over Nilsson.
Klaebo who sits second in the World Cup sprint standings has shown all season that he is capable to ski with the World's best at any distance despite being just 20 years old. Today's he finally got his first World Cup victory and is now just 20 points behind Federico Pellegrino. In second place in today's sprint was Finn Hagen Krogh (NOR) +0.60 behind Klaebo. In third place was Russia's Sergey Ustiugov the 2017 Tour de Ski winner +1.00 back.
Competitions continue tomorrow in Otepää with 10/15 km interval start classic competitions. The ladies' 10 km C starts at 10:15 CET (11:15 local time) and the men's 15 km C begins at 12:15 CET (13:15 local time).
Stina Nilsson (SWE)
I felt really good during the day. It was difficult snow conditions. I managed to ski downhills very well. I wanted to ski really hard from the top of the hill and on the downhill to the stadium because I had amazing skis.
Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR)
It was a tough race in difficult snow conditions. During the day I felt better and better. In the final I did not have as good start as I hoped. It was difficult to find a good position. On the last climb I could follow Stina. Today’s 2nd place is a good sign that my shape is getting better.
Heidi Weng (NOR)
I felt very good the whole day. I managed to ski well the downhills. It was not easy to find the right position.
Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR)
I felt strong today but it was not easy to win. It is very cool to cross the finish line in 1st place. I tried to be first on the big climb and carry on the speed to the stadium. I felt very good energy today and I hope to keep it until the World Champs.
Finn Haagen Krogh (NOR)
I was struggling in the quarterfinal, I did not feel that good. I changed skis and then I felt better in every heat. In the final the lane I chose in the last corner was faster and I could carry on good speed in the homestretch.
Sergey Ustiugov (RUS)
To finish 3rd is nice, I would be disappointed if I had not finished in top 3 today. Finn was very fast on the homestretch today.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - Otepää, Estonia
LADIES - 1.3 km sprint free
1. NILSSON Stina SWE 2:49.96
2. FALLA Maiken Caspersen NOR +0.27
3. WENG Heidi NOR +3.75
4. JACOBSEN Astrid Uhrenholdt NOR +4.91
5. DIGGINS Jessica USA +6.82
6. FALK Hanna SWE +21.73
MEN - 1.6 km sprint free
1. KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot NOR 3:06.53
2. KROGH Finn Haagen NOR +0.60
3. USTIUGOV Sergey RUS +1.00
4. PELLEGRINO Federico ITA +4.77
5. SKAR Sindre Bjoernestad NOR +15.53
6. TAUGBOEL Haavard Solaas NOR +32.94
WORLD CUP SPRINT STANDINGS
1. FALLA Maiken Caspersen NOR 512 pts
2. NILSSON Stina SWE 370
3. WENG Heidi NOR 273
1. PELLEGRINO Federico ITA 309 pts
2. KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot NOR 289
3. KROGH Finn Haagen NOR 277