China stages first FIS Cross-Country city sprint

The first FIS Cross-Country city sprint China was organised directly after the World Cup  concluded in Falun (SWE) 140 cross-country athletes from 16 countries travelled to Yan’an, Shanxi Province (CHN) last week to compete in the city sprint on a 1.4km race course.

With the Olympic Flag handed over to Beijing at the Closing Ceremony of the PyeongChang Games, the focus of event was both to provide an opportunity for Chinese athletes to compete with the best cross-country skiers of the world and to promote Cross-Country Skiing in China in the lead-up to the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing in 2022.

Almost 30.000 spectators saw the exciting victory of Laurien van der Graaf (SUI) who edged out Tiril Udnes Weng in second and Amalie Håkonsen (both NOR) in third.

Federico Pellegrino (ITA) won the men’s race ahead of Lucas Chanavat (FRA) and Martti Jylhae (FIN), Cross-Country representative in the FIS Athletes’ Commission. FIS World Cup overall champion Johannes Klaebo made a mistake in the quarter-finals and was eliminated.

FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis, who was on site, commented: This inaugural FIS City Sprint was a great success at so many levels, in promoting cross-country skiing in China. The number of teams and top athletes participating in Yan’an at the end of a long tough season is testament to the importance attached to development of the sport in China and Beijing 2022. And the local Organisers have had valuable experience in arranging such a high level event from logistics to sports organisation.”

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