Planica Classic Sprint preview

PREVIEW Women SPRINT CLASSIC  – Saturday 20 Jan 2018

•Hanna Falk (SWE) won the sprint event in Dresden last week. It was her third individual sprint World Cup victory.
•Falk can become the second Swede to win back-to-back ladies' sprint World Cup events, after Stina Nilsson (SWE) won four in a row between February and November 2017.
•Falk has recorded one World Cup victory in the sprint classic, when she was victorious in Otepää on 17 January 2010.
•Nilsson (11) can equal Kikkan Randall (USA, 12) in fifth place all-time among women for most World Cup sprint victories (including Tour stages).
•Nilsson has reached the final in four of the five sprint World Cup events this season, most of all women. She did not participate in Lenzerheide (Tour de Ski). The last time Nilsson failed to reach the final was in Davos on 11 December 2016.
•Nilsson won the sprint World Cup event in Planica (free) on 16 January 2016.
•Swedish women have won six of the last eight sprint World Cup events.
•Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR) won the last classic sprint World Cup event, in Lillehammer on 2 December 2017. Falla last won back-to-back classic sprints in February-March 2016 (3 in a row).
•No athlete has claimed more World Cup victories in the sprint events (classic and free) since the start of 2012/13 than Falla (13). Nilsson and Marit Bjørgen (NOR) are next with respectively 11 and 10 wins in this span.
•In her last 25 sprint World Cup participations, Falla has reached the podium on 22 occasions. The sprint event in Planica (45th) on 16 January 2016 was one of these three in which she failed to reach the final.
•Sophie Caldwell (USA) is aiming for her second World Cup victory after her triumph in the sprint classic in Oberstdorf (Tour de Ski) on 5 January 2016.
•Ingvild Flugstad Østberg's (NOR) current tally of four World Cup wins is a joint-personal high for a single season. She also recorded four World Cup victories in both 2015/16 and 2016/17.
•Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) has finished twice on a sprint World Cup podium, both were in the classic style as she finished second in Dramman (March 2017) and in Lillehammer (December 2017).
•Pärmäkoski could become the fourth woman from Finland to win a World Cup sprint event, after Virpi Kuitunen (FIN), Pirjo Muranen (FIN) and Mona-Liisa Nousiainen (FIN), who all three have also won a classic sprint.

PREVIEW Men SPRINT CLASSIC

•Federico Pellegrino (ITA) won the sprint free World Cup event in Dresden, his 10th individual sprint World Cup victory (classic and free).
•Pellegrino needs one more sprint victory to equal Tor Arne Hetland (NOR) and Jens Arne Svartedal (NOR) in joint-third place all-time among men in the World Cup (including Tour stages) on 11 victories, behind only Emil Jönsson (SWE, 16) and Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR, 13).
•Pellegrino can win back-to-back sprint World Cup events for the first time since January 2016.
•No athlete has won more sprint World Cup events since the start of 2011/12 than Pellegrino (10). Eirik Brandsdal (NOR) is next on eight wins.
•This will be the second sprint World Cup event in Planica, after the sprint free on 16 January 2016, won by Pellegrino.
•Pellegrino has won only one classic sprint event in the World Cup, on 8 March 2016, when he won in Canmore in the Ski Tour Canada.
•Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR) has won both classic sprint events this World Cup season, in Ruka (3-Days Tour) and Lillehammer.
•Klæbo can equal the men's record of winning three successive sprint classics in the World Cup, set by Svartedal (3 occasions) and Jönsson.
•Svartedal is the only man to have won the first three classic sprint event of a World Cup season, when he achieved this feat in 2001/02.
•Klæbo has won four sprints in total in the World Cup (free and classic) and needs one more to equal Cristian Zorzi (ITA), Sergey Ustiugov (RUS) and Thobias Fredriksson (SWE) on five victories in eighth place all-time among men.
•Klæbo has recorded eight top-three finishes in sprint World Cup events since the start of 2016/17, most of all athletes and two more than Ustiugov (6).
•Klæbo has reached the podium in six of his last seven sprint World Cup appearances, with an eighth-place finish in the sprint free in Quebec (World Cup Final) on 17 March 2017 as the only exception.
•Klæbo and Pellerino have both reached a sprint final four times this World Cup season, most of all men.
•Lucas Chanavat (FRA) and Richard Jouve (FRA) finished third and fourth respectively in Dresden and can become the second Frenchman to win a sprint event in the World Cup after Baptiste Gros (FRA), who won in Quebec in the Ski Tour Canada on 4 March 2016.
•Alexander Bolshunov (RUS) and Ustiugov are ranked third and fourth in the sprint World Cup respectively.
•Bolshunov is aiming to win his first sprint event in the World Cup, after recording two third-place finishes, both this season in Lillehammer (classic) and Davos (free).
•Calle Halfvarsson (SWE) is poised to win his third sprint World Cup event and his first since 2 December 2016, when he won in the classic style in Lillehammer during the 3-Days Tour.
•Ristomatti Hakola (FIN) is aiming to record his first World Cup podium finish in the sprint. Hakola has finished fourth in a sprint event on three occasions this season (Ruka, Davos, Lenzerheide).
•The last Finnish man on a sprint podium in the World Cup was Toni Ketelä (FIN), when he recorded a third-place finish in Otepää on 17 January 2015. The only Finnish man with a sprint World Cup victory is Ari Palolahti (FIN), winning in Milan on 10 December 1997.
•Jönsson has won a record 16 sprints in the World Cup. His last World Cup victory in a sprint event came on 9 March 2013, when he won in the freestyle in Lahti.
•Jönsson is 32 years old and can become the third oldest man to win a sprint World Cup event, after Hetland (34 years old) in 2008 and Odd Bjørn Hjelmeset (NOR, 34) in 2006.