Comp In­ter­na­tional: USA Shines Young Cana­dian Skiers De­but

SkiTrax - - Contents - By Julie Me­lan­son and Lex Treinen

by Julie Me­lan­son and Lex Treinen

The U.S.A.'S Jessie Dig­gins and So­phie Cald­well showed strong re­sults in the FIS World Cup se­ries lead­ing into Christ­mas, while fel­low Amer­i­can Simi Hamil­ton strut­ted his stuff with a his­toric sprint podium. On the Cana­dian front Devon Ker­shaw and Alex Har­vey scored top-20's as the World Cup races were dom­i­nated by Nor­we­gians Therese Jo­haug and Martin John­srud Sundby.

Davos, Switzer­land – Dec. 12-13

U.S.A.'S Dig­gins con­tin­ued her strong start to the sea­son, fin­ish­ing 11th in the women's 15km freestyle in early De­cem­ber, while Jo­haug led a Nor­we­gian sweep in Round Three of the FIS World Cup se­ries. Nor­way's Ingvild Flugstad Oest­berg was sec­ond, fol­lowed by team­mate Heidi Weng in third. Caitlin Gregg raced to a solid 20th, while Liz Stephen was also in the points in 30th.

Canada's Ker­shaw was the top North Amer­i­can, de­liv­er­ing a solid 20th­place fin­ish in the men's 30km freestyle race, with team­mate Har­vey 22nd, while Nor­way's John­srud Sundby took home an­other World Cup vic­tory. French Mau­rice Man­i­fi­cat came through for the sil­ver at 20.7 sec­onds back, while Nor­way's An­ders Gloeersen locked up the bronze an­other eight sec­onds be­hind.

Ker­shaw is qui­etly serv­ing no­tice not to count him out just yet. “The goal is to hit the points more con­stantly – and I have been do­ing that and have been be­tween 20-30 in all the dis­tance races. I think it gives me a good plat­form to make that jump back into the top-10,” he added.

Fel­low Canuck Ivan Babikov placed 36th, while Graeme Kil­lick was 46th. Noah Hoff­man led the Americans in 52nd, while team­mate Brian Gregg, join­ing the U.S. men's team in Davos, ended up in 65th.

In the women's 1.6km freestyle sprint, Cald­well was the top North Amer­i­can in sixth. Four Amer­i­can women qual­i­fied out of five, in­clud­ing Sadie Bjornsen, Ida Sar­gent, Cald­well and Dig­gins. Canada's Heidi Wid­mer, who is rac­ing for Switzer­land this year, also made the heats.

Swe­den's Stina Nils­son dis­played some tac­ti­cal moves in the fi­nal stretch of the sprint to se­cure a 0.15-sec­ond win over Nor­way's Maiken Caspersen Falla in sec­ond and Oest­berg in third.

Dig­gins and Cald­well went head to head in the sec­ond semi­fi­nal, where Cald­well ad­vanced as the Lucky Loser onto the fi­nals, ex­ceed­ing her goals and ex­pec­ta­tions for the week­end.

In the men's 1.6km freestyle sprint, de­fend­ing Davos sprint cham­pion Fed­erico Pel­le­grino of Italy snatched first from France's Bap­tiste Gros and Nor­way's Son­dre Fossli in the fi­nal stretch of the race.

The U.S. men qual­i­fied two out of three skiers. Both Andy Newell and Simi Hamil­ton, who broke a pole in his heat, fin­ished fifth in the quar­ter­fi­nal heats, fin­ish­ing 23rd and 26th over­all.

Cana­dian Len Val­jas was sur­prised to be knocked out of the heats. “The field is so deep right now. There is just no mar­gin for er­ror. Even if I think I had a great qual­i­fier, when I'm com­ing down the fin­ish­ing stretch, I have to throw down ev­ery­thing I have and lunge across the line be­cause you just never know.”

Toblach, Italy – Dec. 19-20

The fol­low­ing week­end in Toblach, Italy, Cald­well con­sec­u­tively led the U.S. women's team, plac­ing sev­enth over­all in the 1.3km freestyle sprint, with

team­mate Sadie Bjornsen in ninth, while Falla pow­ered to vic­tory in Round Four of the FIS XC World Cup 2015/16. Falla fin­ished first over team­mate Oest­berg, while Nils­son, the pre­vi­ous week­end's win­ner, set­tled for third.

Bjornsen had her best qual­i­fi­ca­tion re­sult and came within a hair of mak­ing the fi­nal. The U.S. women qual­i­fied four out of five, in­clud­ing Dig­gins, Cald­well and Sar­gent. Dig­gins and Sar­gent went head-to-head in the quar­ter­fi­nals, but did not ad­vance fur­ther af­ter fin­ish­ing fifth and sixth.

Hamil­ton took a his­toric podium in the men's 1.3km freestyle sprint, in sec­ond be­hind Italy's Pel­le­grino, with Great Bri­tain's An­drew Young in third.

It was Hamil­ton's first full World Cup podium fin­ish since win­ning a stage World Cup at the Tour de Ski in Len­ze­heide, Switzer­land in Dec. 2013. It was the sixth sprint podium for the U.S.A. It was also a his­toric podium as it marked the first time that Italy, the U.S.A. and Great Bri­tain have shared a World Cup cross-coun­try-ski podium.

“I'm re­ally psyched and felt great all day. It was fun out there un­der blue skies and Ital­ian sun­shine,” said Hamil­ton. “Skis were great.”

The Cana­dian team made a wax­ing ad­just­ment just be­fore the race that didn't pan out and no skiers qual­i­fied.

Sadie Bjornsen led the U.S. team with a 19th-place fin­ish in the women's 10km CL, while Dig­gins fol­lowed closely be­hind in 20th just 5.6 sec­onds be­hind. Jo­haug was un­stop­pable, win­ning her fifth-con­sec­u­tive World Cup race this year and fin­ish­ing with a 28.2-sec­ond lead over Fin­land's Krista Par­makoski, with team­mate Oest­berg in third.

Both Sadie Bjornsen and Dig­gins thought it was a chal­leng­ing course. “The cor­ners and down­hill sec­tions are ones that de­mand to be worked well, and you can make up a lot of time on them by stay­ing fo­cused and work­ing ev­ery inch,” said Dig­gins.

Canada's Emily Nishikawa was back in ac­tion for the 10km CL, her spe­cialty, which paid off when the young White­horse skier turned in her best per­for­mance of the sea­son, fin­ish­ing 39th (a tie) with a time of 30:32.5.

Har­vey charged to 16th in the men's 15km CL, with team­mate Ker­shaw fin­ish­ing 28th in the points, while John­srud Sundby con­tin­ued his early dom­i­nance of the World Cup sea­son by ski­ing away with the gold. Rus­sia's Alexan­der Bess­mert­nykh fin­ished nearly 13 sec­onds off the lead­ing pace in sec­ond, while Nor­way's Sjur Roethe skied to third.

With con­di­tions on the ar­ti­fi­cial-snow-filled course send­ing wax techs into a frenzy, the top-two Cana­dian skiers were among many who chose to double-pole each of the three laps around the 5km course.

“This is the first time that Alex or Devon has double-poled a whole dis­tance race, so that was a solid ef­fort to­day,” added coach Justin Wadsworth. “The guys have showed they are in it. Their shape is good. We need to keep plug­ging away, and pro­gress­ing to­wards the Tour.”

Plan­ica, Slovenia – Jan. 16-17

The World Cup re­sumed mid-jan­uary at the new venue in Plan­ica, Slovenia, where U.S.A.'S Cald­well was the top North Amer­i­can in 13th in the women's 1.2km freestyle sprint, just missing ad­vanc­ing to the semis as a Lucky Loser. Swe­den's Nils­son won and took over the sprint se­ries lead from Falla of Nor­way, who has been bat­tling ill­ness and failed to qual­ify. Top-qual­i­fier Astrid Uhren­holdt Ja­cob­sen (NOR) was sec­ond in the fi­nal, with team­mate Weng third.

Sar­gent (USA) also qual­i­fied, but af­ter a strong start in her quar­ter­fi­nal she was fifth at the fin­ish. First-year se­nior Maya Macis­sac-jones was the top Cana­dian qual­i­fier in 31st, fol­lowed by Dahria Beatty in 32nd, a per­sonal best.

In the men's sprints, Pel­le­grino's hot win­ning streak made him the only men's Ital­ian skier with seven World Cup vic­to­ries. France's Gros landed on the podium in sec­ond, with team­mate Richard Jouve in third.

The top North Amer­i­can was Hamil­ton in 18th, while his team­mate Newell was 24th. Canada's Val­jas just missed the heats again by a mere 5/100ths of a sec­ond, fin­ish­ing 31st.

In the team sprints, Cald­well and Sar­gent skied them­selves to a ca­reer-best fifth-place fin­ish, while Nils­son and Ida Inge­mars­dot­ter of Swe­den l took the win as Nils­son at­tacked on the last climb to claim the vic­tory over Nor­way l, which was com­posed of Weng and Ja­cob­sen sec­ond. San­dra Ring­wald and Hanna Kolb, rac­ing for Ger­many l, fin­ished third.

Macisaac-jones and Beatty skied for Canada l and Cen­drine Browne and Nishikawa skied for Canada 2, fin­ish­ing 10th and eighth re­spec­tively in their semi­fi­nals, end­ing up 19th and 15th over­all.

For the men, it was Pel­le­grino and Di­et­mar Noeck­ler of Italy l tak­ing the vic­tory over Re­naud Jay and Gros from France l, while Valentin Chau­vin and Jouve of France 2 took third, giv­ing the French a his­toric double podium.

The U.S.A.'S Hamil­ton and Newell qual­i­fied fourth in an ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive heat, fighting for hun­dredths of a sec­ond to ad­vance as Lucky Losers to the fi­nals, but they got tan­gled up in the chaotic icy and rel­a­tively short ex­change zone with one of the Nor­we­gian teams, re­sult­ing in a dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion. Knute Johns­gaard and Val­jas rac­ing for Canada 1 fin­ished ninth in their semi­fi­nal and ended up 13th over­all.

Nove Mesto, Czech Repub­lic – Jan. 23-24

Dig­gins blazed to her sec­ond World Cup podium, de­liv­er­ing a con­vinc­ing third-place fin­ish in the women's 10km freestyle at Nove Mesto, Czech Repub­lic, while Jo­haug claimed an­other vic­tory with her team­mate Ja­cob­sen in sec­ond at 4.6 sec­onds back.

Snow fell through­out the day and caused the course to be­come soft and slow. Dig­gins bat­tled with Ja­cob­sen for the lead un­til Jo­haug en­tered the mix. The Amer­i­can star bested top skiers Char­lotte Kalla (SWE) and Weng (NOR) for a stel­lar day. Also in the points were Sadie Bjornsen in 14th, Liz Stephen in 17th and Rosie Bren­nan in 28th.

Canada's Har­vey bat­tled through chal­leng­ing con­di­tions to a solid sev­enth in the men's 15km freestyle, while Man­i­fi­cat of France claimed the top spot on the podium over Nor­way's John­srud Sundby, with Rus­sia's Sergey Ustiu­gov in third. The U.S.A.'S Hoff­man fin­ished 27th.

“The snow was re­ally soft and com­pletely dif­fer­ent than yes­ter­day, so it was ex­tremely slow to­day and I had to work the whole way,” said Har­vey.

The fol­low­ing day in the men's World Cup 4x7.5km re­lay, the U.S.A. and Canada de­liv­ered solid re­sults in eighth and ninth. Nor­way took the win, with Rus­sia sec­ond at six sec­onds be­hind, but the real bat­tle was for the bronze, as seven teams, in­clud­ing the U.S.A. and Canada, vied for the fi­nal podium spot.

As the fin­ish line ap­proached, Italy's Pel­le­grino put the ham­mer down to de­liver the goods, with Ger­many, Nor­way 2, Switzer­land and France left want­ing as the Hamil­ton bested Cana­dian rookie Johns­gaard at the line for eighth.

For Team U.S.A., it was an im­pres­sive comeback, as Erik Bjornsen was able to move the team up from 12th to sixth in the sec­ond leg. The Cana­dian men were also pleased to match the na­tion's sec­ond-best cross-coun­try-ski World Cup re­lay since 2010.

Team U.S.A. claimed his­toric sil­ver in the women's 4x5km re­lay as Sadie Bjornsen, Cald­well, Stephen and Dig­gins were un­stop­pable on their way to a de­ci­sive sec­ond-place fin­ish, with Fin­land third.

Cald­well and Sadie Bjornsen kept the U.S. in con­tention as Stephen over­took Fin­land's Ri­itta-li­isa Ro­po­nen to tag Dig­gins in sec­ond and the rest was his­tory. The team was third in Lille­ham­mer, which matched their ca­reer-best re­sult.

“It was such a won­der­ful feel­ing cross­ing that line and ski­ing straight into the arms of my team­mates, and know­ing that we just ac­com­plished some­thing big as a team,” said Dig­gins.

For Team Canada, it was also a day of cel­e­bra­tion, as Nishikawa, Beatty, Browne and Macisaac-jones de­buted for the red Maple Leaf and took home a proud 12th-place fin­ish. Canada's Browne and Macisaac-jones were in a duel with the Rus­sians over the fi­nal two legs, end­ing up a proud 12th. Canada last com­pleted a women's re­lay with four skiers back in 2008. – JM

Nordic-com­bined Ruka, Fin­land - Nov. 28-29

Both events were can­celled due to high winds.

Lille­ham­mer, Nor­way - Dec. 5-6

The open­ing World Cup was held in Lille­ham­mer, Nor­way fol­low­ing the can­cel­la­tion of the events in Ruka, Fin­land due to high winds. Poland's Szczepan Kupczak was the first starter of the day in the cross-coun­try-ski leg af­ter his strong 133.5-me­tre jump, how­ever, Fabian Rieble of Ger­many, who was 13 sec­onds back, won the com­pe­ti­tion for his first In­di­vid­ual vic­tory with an im­pres­sive ski per­for­mance in which he put as much as 30 sec­onds on his pur­suers be­fore coast­ing to the line for a 12.5-sec­ond vic­tory. Ak­ito Watabe from Ja­pan was sec­ond, and Ilka Herola of Fin­land was third for his first-ever World Cup podium. The top Amer­i­can was Bryan Fletcher, who fin­ished 11th af­ter fin­ish­ing 15th in the jump­ing. Taylor Fletcher was 26th.

On Day Two on the Nor­mal Hill, Mario Seidl of Aus­tria won the jump­ing por­tion ahead of Kupczak, but home-na­tion favourite Mag­nus Krog was able to make up 45 sec­onds for the sec­ond World Cup vic­tory of his ca­reer. The top-three spots ended within two sec­onds, with Ger­many's Rieble in sec­ond and Lukas Klapfer from Aus­tria in third. Taylor Fletcher was the top Amer­i­can, ski­ing from 42nd place in the jump­ing up to 13th with the fastest cross-coun­try leg of the day. Bryan Fletcher was 30th and Adam Loomis was 43rd.

Ram­sau am Dach­stein, Aus­tria - Dec. 19-20

Mag­nus Moan out-lunged his team­mate Krog in a sprint fin­ish af­ter both Nor­we­gians skied back from more than a minute-and-a-half deficit fol­low­ing the jump­ing in the Gunderson 10km. Third place went to their com­pa­triot and the win­ner of the jump­ing, 18-year-old Jarl Mag­nus Ri­iber, who dom­i­nated on the Ram­saus HS 98 hill with 95.5 me­tres and 131.0 points, giv­ing him a 37-sec­ond ad­van­tage go­ing into the cross-coun­try por­tion. Bryan Fletcher was the top Amer­i­can in 26th, af­ter start­ing the ski leg in 35th, while brother Taylor raced from 43rd up to 32nd.

On the sec­ond day in Ram­sau am Dach­stein, Ger­man su­per­star Eric Fren­zel fi­nally rose to the podium for the sea­son, win­ning the 10km In­di­vid­ual Gunderson com­pe­ti­tion by 10.2 sec­onds over Ri­iber, the jump­ing win­ner for the sec­ond day in a row. Af­ter fin­ish­ing sixth in the jump­ing, Fren­zel's 15th-fastest time was good enough to ski away from the pack af­ter three laps and take his 24th World Cup vic­tory. Manuel Faisst of Ger­many was third af­ter start­ing the day in fourth. Taylor Fletcher con­tin­ued to show his good fit­ness with the third-fastest cross-coun­try time, good for a 20th-place re­sult. Bryan Fletcher was 26th.

Klin­gen­thal, Ger­many

Both events were can­celled due to lack of snow.

Chaux-neuve, France - Jan. 23-24

Af­ter an ex­tra-long break due to the can­cel­la­tion of the Klin­gen­thal World Cups, Fren­zel came out on top of the Gunderson com­pe­ti­tion, beat­ing Aus­tria's Bern­hard Gru­ber and Ja­pan's Watabe, who led af­ter the jump­ing. But Watabe's 20-sec­ond lead there over Fren­zel and his 35-sec­ond lead over Gru­ber weren't enough. Bryan and Taylor Fletcher led the Americans, fin­ish­ing 19th and 20th with the third -and first-fastest cross-coun­try times re­spec­tively.

On Day Two, Rieble found the top spot for his sec­ond-ever World Cup win ahead of Fren­zel. Ri­iber won the jump­ing again, but his mar­gin was small, and Rieble man­aged a 2.3-sec­ond win, while Watabe was in third again at 4.1 sec­onds be­hind. Taylor Fletcher again showed his ski­ing fit­ness with the sec­ond-fastest cross-coun­try time and a 21st-place fin­ish, while Bryan Fletcher fin­ished 25th. – LT

Biathlon Oester­sund, Swe­den - Nov. 29-Dec. 6

Canada's Rosanna Craw­ford and Nathan Smith started off the BMW IBU Biathlon World Cup 2015-16 sea­son with a bang, fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the unique Sin­gle Mixed re­lay event, which was held for the first time as the sea­son-opener. The Nor­we­gian duo of Lars Helge Birke­land and Kaia Ni­co­laisen won, and Ger­many's team nabbed the bronze. U.S.A.'S duo of Sean Do­herty and Clare Egan fin­ished 15th.

On the same day, the Nor­we­gians won the Mixed 2x6+2x7.5km re­lay, with the top North-amer­i­can fin­ish go­ing to the Cana­di­ans in ninth, just ahead of the U.S.A. squad in 10th. Ger­many was sec­ond and Czech Repub­lic was third.

The U.S.A.'S 20-year-old Do­herty scored an im­pres­sive 20th place in the sea­son-open­ing 20km race, hit­ting 18 of 20 tar­gets, while 41-year-old Nor­we­gian leg­end Ole Ei­nar Bjo­ern­dalen shot clean for the win.

Canada's Craw­ford fin­ished in 13th place the next day in the women's 15km In­di­vid­ual. Italy's Dorothea Wierer shot clean to win ahead of France's Marie Dorin Habert, who missed two shots, and Olena Pidhrushna of Ukraine, who also shot clean. U.S.A.'S Egan fin­ished 44th to lead the Americans in her sec­ond-ever World Cup start.

Two days later in the 7.5km sprint, Egan bested that re­sult with a 14th­place clean-shoot­ing per­for­mance. Gabriela Soukalova of Czech Repub­lic won over Italy's Fed­er­ica San­fil­ippo, both of whom shot clean, and Pidhrushna, who had one penalty. Macx Davies, 21, of Canada was the lone clean shooter in the men's sprint, fin­ish­ing in 10th just be­hind his team­mate Smith. Martin Four­cade of France missed two shots, but still won handily by 51 sec­onds over Ger­many's Arnd Peif­fer, who missed one tar­get, while Bjo­ern­dalen claimed third. Do­herty was the top Amer­i­can in 25th.

Canada's Smith ended his fan­tas­tic week­end with a 10th-place fin­ish in the men's 12.5km Pur­suit, which was won by Four­cade. On the women's side, Canada sent out a record four starters, but Craw­ford's 23rd place was the top re­sult, as Fin­land's Kaisa Makarainen won with two misses.

2015/16 FIS Nordic-com­bined World Cup Over­all stand­ings af­ter Chaux-neuve, France 1. Riessle Fabian (GER) 394; 2. Eric Fren­zel (GER) 371; 3. Ak­ito Watabe (JPN) 314; 4.Mag­nus Krog (NOR) 273; 5. Jo­er­gen Graabak (NOR) 227. US 23. Taylor Fletcher (USA) 57; 25. Bryan Fletcher (USA) 53.

Hochfilzen, Aus­tria - Dec. 11-13

U.S.A.'S Low­ell Bai­ley of shot clean and fin­ished 12th in the men's 10km sprint, 41 sec­onds be­hind the race win­ner Ger­many's Si­mon Schempp, who cleaned while Smith missed one shot and fin­ished 18th. In the women's 7.5km race, the best North Amer­i­can was Craw­ford, who fin­ished 39th af­ter missing one shot. Ger­many swept the women's podium with Franziska Hilde­brand win­ning, Maren Ham­mer­schmidt in sec­ond and Miriam Goess­ner in third.

The sec­ond day of the Hochfilzen races, a 12.5km Pur­suit for men, saw Bai­ley lose one spot and slip to 13th. Smith kept his start­ing po­si­tion for 18th, while at the front, Four­cade won de­spite two penal­ties. Laura Dahlmeier won the women's 10km Pur­suit, with the U.S.A.'S Su­san Dun­klee mov­ing up from 53rd to 31st with the 17th-fastest ski time, while Craw­ford moved from 39th to 35th.

Italy won the women's 4x6km re­lay ahead of Ger­many and Ukraine, while the Cana­dian women fin­ished 10th and the U.S.A. was 15th. In the men's re­lay, Canada fin­ished in sixth, as Rus­sia bested Nor­way by three sec­onds. Third place went to France. Team U.S.A. fin­ished eighth.

Pokljuka, Slovenia - Dec. 17-20

Tim Burke fin­ished 14th with just one penalty in the men's 10km sprint, while his team­mate Bai­ley shot clean for 15th in sunny Pokljuka. Schempp won ahead of Bjo­er­nalen and Ev­geniy Garanichev of Rus­sia. The U.S.A.'S Dun­klee de­liv­ered a sea­son's-best re­sult with a sixth-place fin­ish in the women's 7.5km sprint at 17.6 sec­onds off the podium, with Dorin Habert of France tak­ing the win. The Cana­dian women were led by Craw­ford, who fin­ished in 23rd.

Burke moved up from 14th to ninth in the men's 12.5km Pur­suit, missing one tar­get, as Schempp bested Four­cade and An­ton Ship­ulin. Dahlmeier won the women's 10km Pur­suit over Dorin Habert, with Makarainen in third as Dun­klee held on for 10th.

Canada's Smith fin­ished 12th in the 15km Mass Start to lead the North Americans on the fi­nal day, while Jean-guil­laume Beatrix of France shot clean and won his first-ever World Cup. Makarainen won the women's 12.5km Mass Start over Soukalova, with the U.S.A.'S Dun­klee fin­ish­ing 22nd.

Ruh­pold­ing, Ger­many - Jan. 8-10

At the next stop in Ruh­pold­ing, Ger­many, Dun­klee just missed out on the top 10, fin­ish­ing 11th in the 7.5km sprint, as Hilde­brand (GER) won over Soukalova and Makarainen. Jo­hannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) led a Nor­we­gian podium sweep in the men's race, with Smith in 15th and Burke in 18th.

Smith claimed a stel­lar sixth in the men's 12.5km Pur­suit on a dif­fi­cult day of ski­ing in soft new snow, while Aus­tria's Si­mon Eder won with a sin­gle penalty. Bai­ley and Burke fin­ished 22nd and 26th, re­spec­tively. In the women's Pur­suit, Dun­klee dropped from 11th to 15th, while Dahlmeier won again.

In the women's 12.5km Mass Start, Dun­klee matched her ca­reer-best sixth, while Dahlmeier con­tin­ued her as­sault. Four­cade took the men's 15km Mass Start, with Bai­ley fin­ish­ing 16th and Smith in 25th.

Ruh­pold­ing, Ger­many - Jan. 13-17

Bai­ley claimed 14th in the men's 20km, as Four­cade bested Eder and Ship­ulin. Canada's Bren­dan Green had his sea­son-best re­sult, fin­ish­ing 18th. In the women's 15km, Canada's Craw­ford raced to 18th place with two missed tar­gets, while Wierer shot clean for the win.

In the men's 4x7.5km re­lay, Team U.S.A. fin­ished sixth with eight spare rounds, while Canada was 10th, as Nor­way used 12 spares to win over Rus­sia, who used six spares. Aus­tria fin­ished third with one penalty and seven spares.

Canada's Smith fin­ished in 15th in the men's 15km Mass Start with one penalty, while Ger­many's Erik Lesser shot clean for the win, with Bai­ley 21st. Canada's Craw­ford fin­ished 19th in the women's 12.5km race, won by se­ries leader Soukalova. Ger­many's Hilde­brand was sec­ond and Dahlmeier was third, with Dun­klee 22nd.

In the fi­nal event of the week­end, Ukraine beat Ger­many by two sec­onds in the women's 4x6km re­lay, while Italy was third. Canada fin­ished in ninth and the U.S.A. was 16th. – LT

IBU Biathlon World Cup

Over­all af­ter five rounds Men 1. Martin Four­cade (FRA) 655; 2. Tar­jei Boe (NOR 468; 3. Emil He­gle Svend­sen (NOR) 465; 4. An­ton Ship­ulin (RUS) 414; 5. Quentin Fil­lon Mail­let (FRA) 404. CAN/US 15. Nathan Smith (CAN) 277; 31. Tim Burke (USA) 157; 44. Sean Do­herty (USA) 63; 48. Bren­dan Green (CAN) 50; 49. Macx Davies (CAN) 49; 72. Scott Gow (CAN) 14; 73. Chris­tian Gow (CAN) 13. Women 1. Gabriela Soukalova (CZE) 611; 2. Marie Dorin Habert (FRA) 538; 3. Franziska Hilde­brand (GER) 520; 4. Laura Dahlmeier (GER) 485; 5. Dorothea Wierer (ITA) 462. CAN/US 22. Su­san Dun­klee (USA) 209; 30. Rosanna Craw­ford (CAN) 136; 54. Claire Egan (USA) 25; 57. Ju­lia Ran­som (CAN) 24; 64. Me­gan Tandy (CAN) 16; 65. Zina Kocher (CAN) 14.

SKI JUMP­ING Lille­ham­mer, Nor­way - Dec. 5-6

Sara Takanashi of Ja­pan won the sea­son-open­ing women's 100 HS com­pe­ti­tion with an 11-point mar­gin over Maja Vtic of Slovenia and Maren Lundby of Nor­way, who was an­other seven points back. Taylor Hein­rich of Canada was a strong 11th, while Tara Ger­aghty-moats of the U.S.A. was 17th. Sev­erin Fre­und of Ger­many bested Ken­neth Gangnes of Nor­way by 0.1 points to take his 19th ca­reer vic­tory, even though he was out-dis­tanced by Nor­we­gians Gangnes and third-place fin­isher Andreas St­jer­nen. The event was moved to the Nor­mal Hill in­stead of the Large be­cause of the fore­cast for strong winds. Macken­zie Boyd-clowes was the top North Amer­i­can in 37th, fol­lowed by Michael Glas­der in 43rd. The sec­ond day's event was also moved to the Nor­mal Hill on Sun­day, but this time it was Gangnes who caught the best of the field, beat­ing Peter Prevc of Slovenia by 1.8 points. Nor­we­gian Jo­hann An­dre For­fang was 3.9 points be­hind in third.

Nizhny Tagil, Rus­sia - Dec. 11-13

Af­ter Nor­way, the races moved to the Sverdlovsk Oblast of cen­tral Rus­sia for the men's and women's com­pe­ti­tions. No North Americans made it through the qual­i­fi­ca­tion. Ger­many's Fre­und again stood on top of the podium with an 11.5-point vic­tory over Slovenia's Prevc, while Nor­way's Joachim Hauer was third, an­other five points back. In the women's com­pe­ti­tion, Daniela Iraschko-stolz of Aus­tria nar­rowly beat Ja­pan's Takanashi by four points for the win, while Eva Pinkel­nig, also of Aus­tria, was third. Canada's Hein­rich again was the top North Amer­i­can, fin­ish­ing in 17th, while Amer­i­can Nita Englund was 20th. The next day, Takanashi got her re­venge with a dom­i­nat­ing 24-point win over her team­mate Yuki Ito. Third place went to Chiara Hoelzl of Aus­tria. Nine­teen-year-old Hein­rich was only three points off the podium in fifth place. In the men's 134 HS, Slovenia's Prevc stood on top of the podium with a seven-point win over Michael Hay­boeck of Aus­tria. An­other seven points back was Nor­way's For­fang.

En­gel­berg, Switzer­land - Dec. 18-20

The men now moved to En­gel­berg, where Slovenia's Prevc shared the podium on the 137 HS jump with his teenage brother, Domen, who fin­ished 14 points be­hind. No­ri­aki Ka­sai of Ja­pan was third. Canada's Boyd-clowes nar­rowly missed out on the top 30 in 31st. Prevc re­peated his vic­tory the next day, win­ning by 20 points over Hay­boeck of Aus­tria, while Gangnes of Nor­way was third. Prevc nabbed his ninth ca­reer win and ex­tended his World Cup lead to 165 points.

Ober­st­dorf, Ger­many - Dec. 28-29

In Ober­st­dorf, Slovenia's Prevc was beaten by his main ri­val in the World Cup stand­ings, Ger­many's Fre­und, who fin­ished just three points ahead of Hay­boeck of Aus­tria for the first day of the an­nual Four Hills Tour­na­ment. The U.S.A.'S Ni­cholas Alexan­der was the top North Amer­i­can in 38th.

Garmisch-partenkirchen - Dec. 31-Jan. 1

Prevc of Slovenia con­tin­ued his great sea­son with an­other win on the 140 HS jump, fin­ish­ing ahead of Gangnes of Nor­way and Fre­und of Ger­many. With the win, Prevc took the lead in the Four Hills Tour­na­ment. Canada's Boyd-clowes was 44th.

Inns­bruck, Aus­tria - Jan. 2-3

Slovenia's Prevc again bested ri­val Ger­many's Fre­und, who fin­ished nine points back on the third day of the Four Hills Tour­na­ment. Nor­way's Gangnes was third to make it a re­peat podium, as on the pre­vi­ous day. Glas­der of the U.S.A. was the lone North Amer­i­can in 48th.

Bischof­shofen, Aus­tria - Jan. 5-6

On the fi­nal day, Prevc se­cured his Four Hills vic­tory in a big way with a win on the fi­nal jump, be­com­ing the first Slove­nian to win since 1997. Ger­many's Fre­und was sec­ond, while Aus­tria's Hay­boeck was third. Hay­boeck also snuck into third over­all, beat­ing Nor­way's Gangnes by just eight points in the over­all.

Willin­gen, Ger­many - Jan. 8-10

The Team com­pe­ti­tion came down to a dif­fer­ence of just 0.8 points, but the Ger­man jumpers from the host na­tion were able to eke out a vic­tory ahead of Nor­way. With star Fre­und's jump of 149 me­tres, the long­est of the day, it was a form of re­venge over Slove­nian ri­val Prevc, who had his worst jump of the year at just 124 me­tres. The Aus­trian team fin­ished third. In the In­di­vid­ual the next day, how­ever, Prevc was back on top, win­ning by 15 points over Nor­way's Gangnes. Fre­und was 30 points off the lead in third. Cana­dian Boyd-clowes was the top North Amer­i­can, plac­ing 20th.

Tau­plitz/bad Mit­tern­dorf, Aus­tria - Jan. 15-17

Slovenia's Prevc's In­di­vid­ual gold at the Ski Fly­ing World Cham­pi­onships had a dark shadow over it with news that Aus­trian jumper Lukas Mueller had crashed dur­ing train­ing two days be­fore the start of the com­pe­ti­tions and was taken to the hospi­tal with par­a­lyzed legs. Prevc set two dis­tance records in just three tries (as the fi­nal jump was can­celed due to weather) on the Kulm Hill, one of the world's largest, to beat Gangnes of Nor­way. Ste­fan Kraft of Aus­tria was a sur­prise third, and Ger­many's Fre­und, Prevc's main ri­val for the sea­son un­til then, fin­ished a dis­ap­point­ing sixth. Canada's Boyd-clowes shat­tered his Cana­dian ski-jump­ing dis­tance record fly­ing 212.5 me­tres fin­ish­ing 27th, and Glas­der of the U.S.A. was 37th. In the Team com­pe­ti­tion, the Nor­we­gian quar­tet of For­fang, Gangnes, An­ders Fan­nemel and Daniel An­dre Tande took the gold, with all jumps of more than 200 me­tres. They ended with a 110-point lead over sec­ond-place Ger­many. Aus­tria was third.

Sap­poro, Ja­pan - Jan. 16-17

While the men were com­pet­ing in Aus­tria, Ja­pan's Takanashi was con­tin­u­ing

her streak in her home coun­try in Sap­poro, win­ning by 24 points over Slove­nian Ema Klinec. Iraschko-stolz of Aus­tria was third. Hein­rich was 13th for Canada and Ger­aghty-moats of the U.S.A. was 21st. On the sec­ond day, Takanashi again dom­i­nated with a 16-point win over Iraschko-stolz. Aus­tria's Jac­que­line Seifrieds­berger was third. Englund of the U.S.A. had a fan­tas­tic sev­enth-place re­sult af­ter jump­ing to 20th in the first round. Canada's Hein­rich was 20th.

Zao, Ja­pan - Jan. 22-23

Ja­pan's Takanashi, 19, con­tin­ued her as­ton­ish­ing streak, again best­ing Aus­tria's Iraschko-stolz for her fifth-straight World Cup vic­tory. Vtic of Slovenia was third. Abby Hughes was the top Amer­i­can in 22nd, and team­mate Englund was 28th. Takanashi made it six in a row the next day, beat­ing Slove­ni­ans Vtic and Klinec by just three and five points re­spec­tively. Englund was 15th for the U.S. and Hein­rich was 20th for Canada.

Zakopane, Poland - Jan. 22-24

Team Nor­way, com­prised of Fan­nemel, St­jer­nen, Tande and Gangnes, fol­lowed up on their World Cham­pi­onship win with an­other con­vinc­ing win in the Team com­pe­ti­tion. Gangnes again had the long­est jump of the day as Nor­way beat Aus­tria by more than 30 points. Home-team Poland held off Ger­many for third. In the In­di­vid­ual 134 HS jump, Kraft of Aus­tria stepped atop the podium, fin­ish­ing eight points ahead of his team­mate Hay­boeck and 11 points ahead of Slove­nian World Cup leader Prevc. – LT

2015/16 FIS Ski Jump­ing World Cup

Over­all stand­ings af­ter Ober­st­dorf, Ger­many/zakopane, Poland Women 1. Sara Takanashi (JPN) 880; 2. Daniela Iraschko-stolz (AUT) 599; 3. Maja Vtic (SLO) 408. CAN/USA 17. Taylor Hen­rich (CAN) 144; 18. Nita Englund (USA) 134; 29. Tara Ger­aghty-moats (USA); 38. Abby Hughes (USA) 13; 44. At­suko Tanaka (CAN) 5. Men 1. Peter Prevc (SLO) 1084; 2. Sev­erin Fre­und (GER) 779; 3. Ken­neth Gangnes (NOR) 725. CAN 51. Macken­zie Boyd-clowes (CAN) 13.

(top) Simi Hamil­ton claimed 2nd for a his­toric first full World Cup sprint podium in Toblach, Italy. (above) Team USA cel­e­brates ca­reer-best World Cup sil­ver in the women's re­lay at Nove Mesto: (l-r) Jessie Dig­gins, So­phie Cald­well, Sadie Bjornsen, Liz S

The U.S.A.'S top Nordic-com­bined rac­ers Bryan (l) and Taylor Fletcher at Utah's Olympic park.

Amer­i­can Su­san Dun­klee matched her ca­reer-best 6th in the women's 12.5km Mass Start at Ruh­phold­ing, Ger­many.

Canada's Nathan Smith and Rosanna Craw­ford won sil­ver in the in­au­gu­ral Sin­gle Mixed re­lay event at Oester­sund, Swe­den.

(above) Cal­gary's Macken­zie Boyd-clowes shat­tered his Cana­dian ski­jump­ing dis­tance record, fly­ing 212.5 me­tres in Tau­plitz/bad Mit­tern­dorf, Aus­tria. (be­low) Top Amer­i­can Nita En­lund had a fan­tas­tic 7th-place re­sult at the World Cup in Sap­poro.

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