Russia and Canada on top in Toblach team sprints

On the second day of sprint action Russia and Canada were victorious in the team sprint competitions in Toblach, Italy.  Natalia Matveeva (RUS), as she did the day before stole the win in the final meters just 0.04 seconds ahead of Sweden 1 anchored by Hanna Falk.  Norway's Maiken Caspersen Falla led into the final curve but was unable to hold off the attacks from both Russia and Sweden.  Falla crossed the line just +0.11 from the lead.  It was Falla's teammate Astrid Urenholdt Jacobsen that blew the race open on her final leg and made it a four team race with Germany chasing as the 4th team.  Germany's Sandra Ringwald had a very strong final leg and just missed out on a podium spot by +0.36 seconds.  Ringwald was paired with Denise Herrmann who returned from Biathlon in the hopes of hitting qualifying standards for a spot on the German team for the Lahti World Ski Championships.  It was a first time World Cup podium and win for the current U23 World Cup leader Yulia Belorukova of Russia.  

In the men's competition it was a last minute decision by Canada to enter a team for the sprint event that turned into a first ever World Cup team sprint victory (Canada previously won at the World Championships in 2011).  The team of Lenny Valjas and Alex Harvey stayed in contention throughout the final but it wasn't until the final climb when Harvey took control of the race leading down into the stadium for the victory.  That was the only time this weekend when the leading athlete entering the homestretch hung on for the win.  For the second place team made up of Karl-Johan Westberg and Oskar Swensson representing Sweden I it was for both their first ever World Cup podiums.  They crossed the line +.53 seconds behind Canada and just 0.12 seconds ahead of the third place team of Dietmar Noekler and Federico Pellegrino (ITA) the winners of the last team sprint competition on World Cup in Planica last season.  Despite a crash on the second lap for Pellegrino they were able to battle back and fight for a podium spot.  



Natalia Matveeva (RUS)
It was an amazing weekend in Toblach. To leave with two wins is great. Yulia did a great job in her leg and I had a lot of confidence from yesterday I could be again fast on the home stretch. To win with my teammate is really special.

Ida Ingemarsdotter (SWE I)
It was a good day at work. We raced well and this was a big step in the right direction for the upcoming competitions.

Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR I)
Today I was definitely not world class level. I have a strong competitive instinct so this loss really irritates me.

Len Valjas (CAN)
I had little bit of trouble in the semifinal. In the final I did everything I could to keep a good position and give Alex a good chance to fight for the podium. I finished on the podium before but I never won a World Cup and it is really special to be standing on top with my teammate.

Oskar Svensson (SWE)
This was really fun. Karl-Johan and I had not expected to be on the podium today, but it's something that I have dreamt about for a long time.

Federico Pelegrino (ITA I)
After the crash I had to fight hard to get in contention with the leading group. Didi made a great job on his leg too. It is great to be on the podium on the home ground.




1. RUSSIA I 18:00.96
MATVEEVA Natalia 1986

2. SWEDEN I  +0.04
FALK Hanna 1989

3. NORWAY I +0.11
JACOBSEN Astrid Uhrenholdt 1987
FALLA Maiken Caspersen 1990

4. GERMANY I  +0.47
HERRMANN Denise 1988
RINGWALD Sandra 1990

5. FINLAND I +5.16
SAAPUNKI Susanna 1992

Complete ladies' results are available HERE. 


1. CANADA CAN16:02.11
VALJAS Len 1988
HARVEY Alex 1988

2. SWEDEN I +0.53
WESTBERG Karl-Johan 1992
SVENSSON Oskar 1995

3. ITALY I +0.65
NOECKLER Dietmar 1988
PELLEGRINO Federico 1990

4. NORWAY II +1.12
TAUGBOEL Haavard Solaas 1993
GOLBERG Paal 1990

5. NORWAY I +1.90
SKAR Sindre Bjoernestad 1992
KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot 1996

Complete results for men are available HERE