Comp In­ter­na­tional: Amer­i­cans Shine

SkiTrax - - Contents - by Lex Treinen

by Lex Treinen

Feb. 3 - Dram­men, Nor­way

Pet­ter Northug used his sig­na­ture dou­ble-pole to win the 1.2km Clas­sic sprint in down­town Dram­men, Nor­way, best­ing two team­mates, Ola Vi­gen Hat­tes­tad, who also skied with­out grip wax in sec­ond and Erik Brands­dal on Clas­sic skis in third. It was Northug's first In­di­vid­ual World Cup vic­tory since 2014. Simi Hamil­ton was sat­is­fied with an 11th place in his tra­di­tion­ally weaker Clas­sic tech­nique. Canada's Alex Har­vey, a Worlds sil­ver medal­ist in the Clas­sic sprint, was 20th and Len Val­jas was 28th.

In the women's race, it was Nor­way again tak­ing gold and sil­ver with Maiken Caspersen Falla in first and Ingvild Flugstad Oest­berg in sec­ond. Rus­sia's Na­talia Matveeva sur­prised in third. Jessie Dig­gins of Team U.S.A. fin­ished 13th af­ter qual­i­fy­ing for the first time in Dram­men, plac­ing a strong sev­enth while Sadie Bjornsen ended up 18th with So­phie Cald­well in 19th. An­drea Dupont was the lone Canuck in 59th.

Feb. 6-7 - Oslo, Nor­way

Nor­way's Martin John­srud Sundby charged from the gun to ski away from all of his op­po­nents and take a huge vic­tory in the 50km Clas­sic at the leg­endary Hol­menkollen Sta­dium, his fifth con­sec­u­tive vic­tory there. He beat his com­pa­triot Nik­las Dyrhaug and Rus­sia's Maxim Vylegzhanin. Har­vey was 20th for Canada, just ahead of his team­mate Devon Ker­shaw, who fin­ished in 23rd. U.S.A.'S Noah Hoff­man was 24th, and Graeme Kil­lick squeaked into the points with a 30th-place fin­ish.

The next day in the women's 30km Clas­sic, Therese Jo­haug al­lowed for no sur­prises and smoked the rest of the field, fin­ish­ing 3:46 ahead of fel­low Nor­we­gian Oest­berg for the largest time-spread vic­tory ever at the Hol­menkollen. Fin­land's Anne Kyl­loe­nen de­liv­ered her best-ever per­for­mance to fin­ish third. Sadie Bjornsen was the top Amer­i­can in 22nd, just ahead of Liz Stephen in 23rd and Dig­gins in 25th.

Feb. 11 - Stock­holm, Swe­den

Rus­sia claimed the top step of the podium af­ter a long stretch of Nor­we­gian win­ners, as Nikita Kriukov blasted by Hat­tes­tad and Northug on the fi­nal straight­away to win his first World Cup of the sea­son. Kriukov was the 27th qual­i­fier, but was able to best the top dou­ble-pol­ers in the world in the fi­nal stretch of the down­town sprint. Har­vey of Canada just missed the fi­nals, fin­ish­ing in sev­enth, while Hamil­ton ended up 21st and Andy Newell was 26th.

In the women's race, Falla won her fourth con­sec­u­tive World Cup sprint, beat­ing team­mate Oest­berg and lo­cal Swede Stina Nils­son, who set­tled for third. Cald­well was the top North Amer­i­can, fin­ish­ing 11th af­ter win­ning her quar­ter­fi­nal for a strong de­but in Stock­holm. Dig­gins was 21st, while the other Amer­i­can women un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally didn't qual­ify for the rounds.

Feb. 13-15 - Falun, Swe­den

The U.S.A.'S Dig­gins raced to a fifth-place re­sult in the women's 5km Clas­sic

In­di­vid­ual, just ahead of her team­mate Sadie Bjornsen, who was sev­enth. Jo­haug claimed her 13th vic­tory of the sea­son, lead­ing a Nor­we­gian clean sweep with team­mates Heidi Weng in sec­ond and Oest­berg in third. In the men's 10km Clas­sic In­di­vid­ual Start, Erik Bjornsen led the North Amer­i­cans with a 21st-place fin­ish in a race won by Rus­sian Vylegzhanin. Sec­ond place went to another Rus­sian, Alexan­der Bess­mert­nykh, who fin­ished 0.1 sec­onds ahead of third-place Mau­rice Mag­ni­fi­cat of France. John­srud Sundby was fifth at 9.5 sec­onds back.

In the women's 10km Mass-start Freestyle, World sil­ver medal­ist Dig­gins fin­ished fourth be­hind another Nor­we­gian clean sweep. Jo­haug again won, ahead of Weng and Astrid Ja­cob­sen, se­cur­ing her 14th vic­tory of the sea­son. Stephen fin­ished 15th, while World Cup new­bie Caitlin Pat­ter­son earned her first points in 25th. In the men's 15km Mass Start, Sergey Ustiu­gov fi­nally got a vic­tory, nar­rowly beat­ing Italy's Francesco De Fabi­ani in sec­ond, with John­srud Sundby in third. Ker­shaw was the top North Amer­i­can in 28th.

Feb. 20-21 - Lahti, Fin­land

Dig­gins con­tin­ued her re­cent climb in the re­sults, nab­bing a sec­ond-place podium spot in the women's 1.6km Freestyle sprint be­hind Nor­we­gian star Falla, with Weng in third. “It's re­ally ex­cit­ing to be on the podium,” said Dig­gins. “The sta­dium was great and very loud with lots of fans. It was a lot of fun to com­pete here.” U.S.A.'S Sadie Bjornsen fin­ished a solid 10th, while Cald­well was 13th. In the men's race, the U.S.A.'S Hamil­ton was the top North Amer­i­can in 17th in a race won by Emil Iver­son, lead­ing a Nor­we­gian sweep with Finn Ha­gen Krogh in sec­ond and Northug in third.

In the women's 15km Skiathlon, Sadie Bjornsen was the top North Amer­i­can, fin­ish­ing in 15th ahead of Dig­gins in 17th and Pat­ter­son in the points again in 29th. Jo­haug won by more than a minute ahead of Weng and Oest­berg. It was another Bjornsen to lead the Amer­i­can men, as Erik fin­ished 27th in the 30km, while John­srud Sundby won with a 4.9-sec­ond mar­gin over Krogh and third-placed Hans Chris­ter Hol­und.

For the fi­nal rounds of the FIS World Cup, see pages 22-27.

Biathlon #6 - An­tholz-an­ter­selva, Italy - Jan. 21-24

Rus­sia's Olga Pod­ch­u­farova won the 7.5km sprint in Italy for the women by shoot­ing clean. Italy's Dorothea Wierer was sec­ond and Rus­sia's Eka­te­rina Yurlova was third. No North Amer­i­cans made the top 30.

In the men's 10km sprint, Ger­many's Si­mon Schempp beat Rus­sia's Maxim Tsvetkov and Nor­we­gian Tar­jei Boe. Tim Burke led the North Amer­i­cans, fin­ish­ing 17th with one miss.

Rus­sia's Yurlova took the vic­tory in the Pur­suit ahead of Switzer­land's Selina Gas­parin, with Wierer in third. Rus­sia con­tin­ued its strong show­ing with a win in the men's 12.5km Pur­suit, as An­ton Ship­ulin missed twice, but still over­took Schempp to win by 10.3 sec­onds. Jo­hannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) skied into third place de­spite three misses. Burke dropped to 22nd, and Low­ell Bai­ley moved from 32nd to 28th.

France's star-stud­ded team won the women's 4x6km re­lay, us­ing eight spare rounds and no penal­ties. The Czech Repub­lic skied into sec­ond and Rus­sia raced to third. Team Canada skied into 14th place, while the U.S.A. was lapped.

In the men's re­lay, Rus­sia got the bet­ter of Ger­many, win­ning by a sec­ond. Nor­way was third at 23 sec­onds be­hind the lead­ers. The U.S.A. fin­ished a solid sixth, led by Leif Nord­gren's third leg, which was the fourth fastest on the day. Canada was 11th.

#7 - Can­more, Alta. - Feb. 4-7

The World Cup moved to North Amer­ica for its once-ev­ery-five-year tour, and the open­ing day's men's 10km sprint fea­tured no sur­prises as Martin Four­cade (FRA) shot clean to beat Ship­ulin of Rus­sia and Schempp of Ger­many. The U.S.A.'S Burke and Bai­ley were 23rd and 24th, while Canada's Macx Davies was 25th. In the women's 7.5km race, Olena Podhrushna of Ukraine shot clean to win by 7.5 sec­onds over Krystyna Guzik of Poland. Wierer of Italy was third. Ju­lia Ran­som of Canada fin­ished 19th and Amer­i­can Han­nah Dreis­si­gacker was 28th.

Italy's Do­minik Windisch was the sur­prise win­ner of the next day's 15km Mass Start, best­ing Ger­many's Benedikt Doll and France's Quentin Fil­lon Mail­let. Burke fin­ished in sev­enth with three misses, while Canada's Nathan Smith was 16th and Low­ell Bai­ley (USA) was 20th. In the women's 12.5km, Wierer of Italy won with just one miss ahead of Marie Dorin-habert of France and Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Repub­lic.

In the next day's Sin­gle Mixed Re­lay, France's star duo of Dorin-habert and Four­cade dom­i­nated by more than 45 sec­onds over Aus­tria, with Nor­way third, another 10 sec­onds back. Canada was 12th and the U.S.A. team was 16th. Ger­many won the Mixed Re­lay by a mar­gin of 72 sec­onds, with Italy sec­ond and Nor­way third. The U.S.A. had a stel­lar day, just miss­ing out on the podium, fin­ish­ing two sec­onds be­hind the Nor­we­gians. Dun­klee skied the fifth-fastest open­ing leg, while Bai­ley de­liv­ered the fourth-fastest an­chor. Canada was sixth, less than 10 sec­onds be­hind the Amer­i­cans.

#8 - Presque Isle, Me. - Feb. 11-13

Jo­hannes Thingnes Boe won the 10km sprint, shoot­ing clean to beat Ship­ulin by al­most 30 sec­onds. Four­cade was third with one miss. The U.S.A. showed depth with three top-20's: Do­herty in 13th, Bai­ley in 15th and Burke in 20th. The women's 7.5km race was won by yel­low-bibbed Soukalova, who shot clean. In sec­ond was home-course favourite U.S.A.'S Dun­klee, who also shot clean. “My fam­ily is here; so many friends and sup­port­ers are here,” said the Ver­mont na- tive. “It's just a won­der­ful, won­der­ful feel­ing.” The fin­ish was the best ever for an Amer­i­can wo­man on the World Cup. Poland's Guzik was third, 1.3 sec­onds be­hind Dun­klee.

Four­cade bested his com­peti­tors by 24 sec­onds to take the win in the 12.5km Pur­suit. Jo­hannes Thingnes Boe was sec­ond and Rus­sia's Ship­ulin was third. Burke moved up from 20th to sev­enth, while Bai­ley also ad­vanced to 14th, but Do­herty dropped to 20th. In the women's race, Soukalova held her start po­si­tion to win by 34 sec­onds ahead of Kaisa Makarainen and Dorin-habert. Dun­klee dropped from sec­ond to fifth with four misses, while her team­mate Clare Egan had a strong day, mov­ing up from 32nd to 23rd. Dreis­si­gacker also made gains from 27th to 24th.

Nor­way won the men's 4x7.5km re­lay by more than 30 sec­onds, beat­ing France, who skied with­out its star, Four­cade. Ger­many was third. The U.S.A.'S team nar­rowly missed the podium by six sec­onds, tak­ing fifth in a photo fin­ish with Rus­sia. The Czech Repub­lic won the women's 4x6km re­lay, over­com­ing 14 misses to win by 25.2 sec­onds. Ukraine's team was sec­ond with 12 misses but no penal­ties, and Ger­many fin­ished third. The U.S.A. placed 10th, while the Cana­di­ans were lapped.

#9 - Khanty Man­siysk, Rus­sia - March 17-20

The fi­nal races of the 2015-16 sea­son started with a sur­prise win for Ju­lian Eber­hard of Aus­tria, who shot clean in the 10km sprint to take his first-ever World Cup win.

Ger­many's Schempp was sec­ond, and his team­mate Arnd Peif­fer was third. Burke fin­ished in sixth place with one miss. Fin­land's Makarainen missed once, but won the women's com­pe­ti­tion by three sec­onds over clean-shoot­ing Soukalova. Nor­way's Marte Olsbu fin­ished in third and U.S.A.'S Dun­klee was 25th.

In the 10km Pur­suit, Makarainen held off France's Dorin-habert, who fin­ished 1.5 sec­onds be­hind the Finn. Italy's Wierer was third at 5.7 sec­onds back. Dun­klee moved up to 22nd, while Canada's Ran­som moved up to 34th. In the men's 12.5km Pur­suit, Schempp took an 8.5-sec­ond win, while Jo­hannes Thingnes Boe of Nor­way made up al­most a minute to move into sec­ond. Ger­many's Erik Lesser was third. Amer­i­can Burke kept his start po­si­tion to fin­ish in sixth, while his team­mate Bai­ley moved from 31st to 22nd. The Pur­suit races ended up be­ing the last races of the sea­son, as the next day's Mass-start com­pe­ti­tions were can­celed af­ter strong Siberian winds knocked over a light pole at the venue.

Nordic-com­bined Seefeld, Aus­tria - Jan. 29-31

Eric Fren­zel struck in Seefeld, Aus­tria on Day One of the Triple, win­ning his ninth con­sec­u­tive race at the site of the 2019 World Cham­pi­onships. The Ger­man crossed the line 6.2 sec­onds ahead of Ak­ito Watabe of Japan, who won the jumping por­tion, and Ger­man Fabian Riessle was third fol­low­ing Nor­we­gian Jarl Ri­iber's dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion (due to a miss­ing transpon­der). Bryan Fletcher of U.S.A. fin­ished 20th with the third-fastest cross-coun­try time.

On Day Two, Fren­zel set a record with his 10th-straight win at a venue as he eclipsed team­mate Riessle in the over­all World Cup stand­ings. Watabe and Riessle held their spots from Day One. Bryan Fletcher moved up to ninth by the end of the day with the sixth-fastest ski time.

On Day Three, Fren­zel did the un­think­able, win­ning the “triple-triple” – his third Triple vic­tory in the three years it has taken place – and set­ting a record of 11 straight vic­to­ries at a venue. Fren­zel over­came a land­ing mishap that gave him a 56-sec­ond deficit to even­tual sec­ond-place fin­isher Watabe go­ing into the cross-coun­try race. Fren­zel caught and passed Watabe just be­fore the fin­ish, while Riessle held on to third. Amer­i­can Bryan Fletcher had the fastest cross-coun­try time of the day to fin­ish sev­enth.

Oslo, Nor­way - Feb. 6

Eigh­teen-year-old Ri­iber of Nor­way ended Fren­zel's win­ning streak, win­ning by 16 sec­onds. Vet­eran Watabe fin­ished sec­ond and Fren­zel was third in Oslo with the third-best jump. Bryan Fletcher again led the Amer­i­cans with a 20th-place fin­ish.

Trond­heim, Nor­way - Feb. 9-10

Jo­er­gen Graabak took his first win of the sea­son in front of his home crowd in Trond­heim, Nor­way, beat­ing Fren­zel by 5.1 sec­onds. Ri­iber fin­ished third with the long­est jump and the 26th-fastest ski time. Bryan Fletcher moved up 12 spots from his jump with the fifth-fastest cross-coun­try time of the day, while Tay­lor Fletcher fin­ished 28th.

Fren­zel re­turned to the top the next day to beat ri­val Watabe of Japan. Third went to Graabak, who fin­ished al­most a minute be­hind the leader. Aside from ex­tend­ing his over­all World Cup lead, Fren­zel's 29th vic­tory over­took his jumping coach Ronny Ack­er­mann and moved him into sec­ond place on the list of all-time most vic­to­ries held by Fin­land's Hannu Man­ni­nen with 48. Bryan Fletcher fin­ished 17th.

Lahti, Fin­land - Feb. 19-21

World Cup leader Fren­zel prof­ited from the young Nor­we­gian Ri­iber's wrong turn at the very fin­ish in Lahti, Fin­land, which left the 18-year-old dis­qual­i­fied for the third time this sea­son. Fren­zel ended 1.7 sec­onds ahead of Watabe, with whom he skied most of the race. Nor­way's Jan Sch­mid was third, 32 sec­onds be­hind. Tay­lor Fletcher was the top Amer­i­can in 24th.

In the Team Sprint, Ger­many's duo of Jo­hannes Ry­dzek and Riessle took the win beat­ing two Aus­trian teams, who out-sprinted Ger­many's sec­ond team. Nor­way's Ri­iber had another un­lucky break and suf­fered a dis­lo­cated shoul­der on one of the last laps and was forced to stop for help from his phys­io­ther­a­pist, while nei­ther of U.S.A.'S two teams started in the cross-coun­try por­tion.

Riessle took another vic­tory on the third day, this time in the In­di­vid­ual Gun­der­son, beat­ing his team­mate Fren­zel by 5.1 sec­onds. Watabe was again on the podium another six sec­onds back. Bryan Fletcher was 25th and Tay­lor Fletcher was 28th.

Kuo­pio, Fin­land - Feb. 23

In Kuo­pio, Fin­land, Ry­dzek took back 34 sec­onds af­ter the jump to beat Watabe by 6.2 sec­onds, while Aus­trian vet­eran Willi Denifl sur­prised with his first podium ap­pear­ance since 2014 to fin­ish third. Bryan Fletcher had the sec­ond-best ski time to fin­ish 12th.

Schonach, Ger­many - March 4-6 Val di Fiemme, Italy - Feb. 26-28

The sec­ond Team Sprint of the sea­son saw the Nor­we­gian duo of Mag­nus Krog and Graabak take the top spot, 6.7 sec­onds ahead of Ger­many 1 and France 1. The Nor­we­gians led af­ter the jumping by just one sec­ond over France and skied from the front. Ger­many's To­bias Haug broke a ski pole dur­ing the race, but his part­ner Tino Edel­mann man­aged to ski the team back up to sec­ond place by the fin­ish. U.S.A.'S duo of the Fletcher broth­ers fin­ished in sixth af­ter start­ing the cross-coun­try race in ninth.

Gru­ber of Aus­tria won the In­di­vid­ual Gun­der­son 37 sec­onds ahead of Fren­zel, while Graabak fin­ished third. Amer­i­can Tay­lor Fletcher was 24th, and Bryan Fletcher 26th. The fi­nal day at Val di Fiemme was won by Nor­way's Krog, who over­took the best jumper, Fren­zel, to win by 5.8 sec­onds over his team­mate Graabak. Riessle fin­ished in third, but Fren­zel's fourth-place fin­ish was enough to se­cure his fourth-straight World Cup ti­tle. Bryan and Tay­lor Fletcher fin­ished in 25th and 26th re­spec­tively.

The fi­nal re­lay of the sea­son saw Nor­way steal the show when Riessle crashed in the fin­ish lane af­ter tan­gling with Graabak. Aus­tria ended up third at 22 sec­onds back. Ger­many's team started the ski 24 sec­onds ahead of Nor­way, but were caught by the end of the first leg. Team U.S.A. fin­ished in ninth out of nine starters.

Day Two of­fered another ex­cit­ing sprint fin­ish, this time with a twist: Krog crossed the line first by a mere boot-length, but was dis­qual­i­fied for ob­struc­tion, giv­ing Fren­zel the win. Sch­mid ended up sec­ond and Watabe in third. Tay­lor Fletcher was 27th.

The fi­nal World Cup of the 2015-16 sea­son went to Nor­we­gian Graabak, who bested Ger­many's Riessle at the line. Lukas Klapfer of Aus­tria was third, just 3.1 sec­onds back. Lo­cal Faißt had the best jump of the day and led Watabe go­ing into the cross-coun­try race by 27 sec­onds. Watabe faded in the long 15km ski, but held on to his sec­ond-place over­all rank­ing. Tay­lor Fletcher was 23rd with the fastest cross-coun­try time of the day.

Ski Jumping Sap­poro, Japan - Jan. 30-31

Slove­nia swept the podium in Japan with Peter Prevc on top with a com­bined to­tal of 299 points, Peter's brother Domen in sec­ond, and Robert Kran­jec in third for his first podium in two years. Japan's No­ri­aki Ka­sai al­most snuck on the podium, but ended in fourth. Kevin Bick­ner was the only Amer­i­can, and fin­ished in 39th, while Mackenzie Boyd-clowes of Canada was dis­qual­i­fied. The next day was a dif­fer­ent story, with Nor­we­gian world-record holder An­ders Fan­nemel win­ning with jumps of 143.5 and 136.5 me­tres for a to­tal of 265 points. Nor­way's An­dre For­fang was sec­ond, fol­lowed by Ka­sai, who gave home fans some­thing to cheer about. Prevc, the World Cup leader, missed the podium for just the sec­ond time this sea­son. Boyd-clowes and Wil­liam Rhoads of U.S.A. did not qual­ify for the fi­nal com­pe­ti­tion, fin­ish­ing in 46th and 47th re­spec­tively.

Ober­st­dorf, Ger­many - Jan. 30-31

Sara Takanashi won in Ober­st­dorf, get­ting her sixth straight win and set­ting Hill records in both rounds. Her jumps were 104.0 and 107.0 me­tres. Aus­trian Daniela Iraschko-stolz and Slove­nian Ema Klinec rounded the podium, more than 25 points be­hind Takanashi. Nita Englund had a fan­tas­tic eighth place for U.S.A. and Canada's Tay­lor Hein­rich was 23rd. Takanashi won again on the sec­ond day of com­pe­ti­tion, though with slightly shorter jumps of 102.5 and 97.0 me­tres. Iraschko-stolz again jumped into sec­ond, 14 points back, and Maren Lundby, whose 104-me­tre jump was the long­est of the day, fin­ished third. Englund had another solid ninth-place fin­ish, and Hein­rich was 20th.

Oslo, Nor­way - Feb. 4

Takanashi was again the win­ner in Nor­way, this time with jumps of 137.5 and 136.0 me­tres to beat home-coun­try hero Lundby by 20 points over­all. Rus­sia's Irina Av­vaku­mova was third. Canada's Hein­rich was 16th and U.S.A.'S Englund was 18th.

Hinzen­bach, Aus­tria - Feb. 6

Takanashi won her 40th World Cup vic­tory to set the record for the most ski-jumping vic­to­ries in all World Cup ski­ing. Her jumps of 93.5 and 93.0 me­tres beat home­town-hero Iraschko-stolz and Lundby of Nor­way. It was also her ninth straight World Cup win. The North Amer­i­cans were solid, with Englund in 10th and Hein­rich in 16th. Takanashi con­tin­ued the next day, win­ning her 10th straight World Cup with jumps of 98.0 and 90.0 me­tres. Aus­tri­ans Iraschko-stolz was sec­ond and Jac­que­line Seifrieds­berger was third for her sec­ond podium of the sea­son. Englund fin­ished ninth and Hein­rich was 13th.

Oslo, Nor­way - Feb. 6-7

Slove­nia didn't dis­ap­point in the Team com­pe­ti­tion in Oslo, beat­ing the home-coun­try Nor­we­gians. All four Slove­ni­ans had jumps of more than 126 me­tres. The Nor­we­gians were pulled by Ken­neth Gangnes and An­dre Tande, who landed jumps of 130 me­tres in the fi­nal round. Japan fin­ished a sur­prise third, just 12 points ahead of the Ger­man team.

Trond­heim, Nor­way - Feb. 10

Prevc bat­tled dif­fi­cult winds to win again in Trond­heim, jumping 135 and 132 me­tres, while his main op­po­nents for the over­all World Cup strug­gled. Stefan Kraft of Aus­tria was sec­ond and Ka­sai had a mon­ster fi­nal jump of 143 me­tres to fin­ish third. Boyd-clowes was 46th and Ni­cholas Alexan­der of U.S.A. was 47th.

Vik­er­sund, Nor­way - Feb. 12-14

Kran­jec beat lo­cal Gangnes and Ka­sai to take a sur­prise win with huge jumps of 236 and 239.5 me­tres. Peter Prevc set­tled for fourth, miss­ing the podium for just the third time. Cana­dian Boyd-clowes snuck into the fi­nals with a 29th place. Amer­i­can Alexan­der was 50th and team­mate Bick­ner was 53rd. Prevc got his re­venge the next day with the two long­est flights of the day for his 10th win this sea­son. He jumped 238.5 and 230 me­tres to beat sec­ond-place For­fang by al­most 20 points. Kran­jec of Slove­nia was third. Boyd-clowes was 38th. Prevc won again with mas­sive jumps of 237 and 249 me­tres, de­spite sit­ting down at the land­ing of his sec­ond jump. Kraft of Aus­tria was sec­ond and An­dreas St­jer­nen of Nor­way was third. North Amer­i­cans had a strong day, with Boyd-clowes fin­ish­ing 22nd and U.S.A.'S Bick­ner mak­ing the fi­nals in 30th.

Ljubno, Slove­nia - Feb. 13

Maja Vtic of Slove­nia fi­nally found a way to beat Takanashi, win­ning by a nar­row mar­gin of 4.5 points. She had two jumps of 91.0 me­tres to un­seat the Ja­panese star for just the sec­ond time this sea­son. Spela Ro­gelj of Slove­nia gave the home fans some­thing to cheer about with a third-place fin­ish, while U.S.A.'S Englund had a great sev­enth place. The next day, Iraschko-stolz again bested Takanashi, who fin­ished fourth. Iraschko-stolz fin­ished with jumps of 91 and 95 me­tres, ahead of Slove­ni­ans Vtic and Chiara Hoelzl. Englund was 20th for the top North Amer­i­can re­sult.

Lahti, Fin­land - Feb. 19-21

Takanashi wrapped up the over­all World Cup ti­tle early by win­ning with 251.3 points. She fin­ished ahead of Vtic and Yuki Ito, also of Japan. Vtic fin­ished 12 points be­hind Takanashi. Englund jumped to 12th place, while her team­mate Tara Ger­aghty-moats had a solid 15th. Michael Hay­boeck of Aus­tria won the first day's men's com­pe­ti­tion with 128- and 129-me­tre jumps. Nor­way's Tande was sec­ond and Ger­man star Sev­erin Fre­und found his way back to the podium af­ter a seven-com­pe­ti­tion-long hia­tus. Boyd-clowes just missed the fi­nals in 31st. Af­ter the Team com­pe­ti­tion was can­celed the next day due to high winds, Hay­boeck won again with 98.5- and 100-me­tre jumps. This time,

he beat Ger­many's Karl Geiger, who scored his first-ever podium, and Taku Takeuchi, on the podium for the first time since 2013. Boyd-clowes was 41st.

Kuo­pio, Fin­land - Feb. 22-23

Nor­way's team hand­ily won the Team com­pe­ti­tion in Kuo­pio, with Tande, For­fang, Fan­nemel and Gangnes all jumping more than 126 me­tres. Tande set a Hill record with a 136-me­tre jump. Ger­many ended in sec­ond, 54.4 points back, while Japan set­tled for third, just ahead of Slove­nia. The next day, Hay­boeck of Aus­tria com­pleted his hat trick by win­ning his third straight race in Fin­land, this time with jumps of 131 and 129 me­tres. Tande of Nor­way and Kraft of Aus­tria fin­ished in sec­ond and third. Boyd-clowes was 33rd.

Al­maty, Kazakhstan - Feb. 27-28

Takanashi won the maiden com­pe­ti­tion of the ski-jumping women's World Cup in Al­maty, jumping 101 and 103 me­tres for 252.6 points. Aus­tri­ans Iraschko-stolz and Seifrieds­berger were sec­ond and third, seven and 13 points back re­spec­tively. Englund was eighth and Ger­aghty-moats just missed the top 10 in 12th. Prevc again won the men's with jumps of 141 and 137.5 me­tres. He beat Hay­boeck and Fre­und. U.S.A.'S Rhoads was 45th. Takanashi took an in­cred­i­ble 14th win this sea­son the next day, jumping 96.5 and 102.0 me­tres and grab­bing 236.9 points. Iraschko-stolz again was sec­ond for her eighth time this sea­son, while Vtic was third. Englund was sev­enth in the fi­nal women's com­pe­ti­tion, Ger­aghty-moats was 15th and Hein­rich fin­ished in 17th. Prevc won the sec­ond day as well, with jumps of 139.5 and 139, his 13th win of the sea­son. That num­ber tied the all-time record for men and se­cured him his over­all World Cup ti­tle. Fre­und set a Hill record, but set­tled for sec­ond, ahead of Tande of Ger­many. Michael Glas­der of U.S.A. was 48th.

Wisla, Poland - March 4-5

Czech Ro­man Koudelka won the first com­pe­ti­tion in Poland – his first of the sea­son – jumping 127.5 and 133 me­tres to beat first-round leader Gangnes. Third place went Ka­sai of Japan. Boyd-clowes was 30th and U.S.A.'S Bick­ner was 46th. The sec­ond day in Wisla was can­celed due to winds.

Ti­tisee-neustadt, Ger­many - March 12-13

For­fang won his first World Cup in the first day at Ti­tisee-neustadt. World Cup leader Prevc was sec­ond, just four points back, while Gangnes jumped up from 11th in the first round to fin­ish third with a 140-me­tre jump. Boyd-clowes was 34th for Canada, Glas­der was 35th for U.S.A. and his team­mate Alexan­der was 47th. As in the pre­vi­ous week­end, the sec­ond day of com­pe­ti­tion was can­celed due to winds.

Plan­ica, Slove­nia - March 17-20

Prevc won in front of a home crowd at the fi­nal round for his 14th vic­tory this sea­son. His jumps of 223 me­tres and 232 me­tres put him seven points ahead of For­fang and gave the 23-year-old the all-time record for wins in a sea­son, as well as World Cup points scored. Prevc's team­mate Kran­jec was third. Boyd-clowes fin­ished a solid 18th and U.S.A.'S Bick­ner was 32nd. Prevc set­tled for sec­ond the next day be­hind Kran­jec, who jumped 223.5 and 236 me­tres. Prevc was sit­ting back in sixth af­ter the first round, but his sec­ond jump was the long­est of the day. For­fang was third. Boyd-clowes con­tin­ued his streak with a 19th place. The last day's Team com­pe­ti­tion fi­nally saw the Slove­ni­ans un­seated, as Nor­way took a win with Fan­nemel, Tande, Gangnes and For­fang post­ing 1,627.4 points, al­most 80 points ahead of the sec­ond-place Slove­ni­ans. Fans still had some­thing to cheer about though, as Prevc posted the long­est jump of the day in 246 me­tres, but held their breaths as Aus­tria fin­ished only 0.1 points back of Slove­nia.

(clock­wise from top) Amer­i­can Jessie Dig­gins raced to a stel­lar sec­ond place in the women's 1.6k freestyle sprint in Lahti. So­phie Cald­well (USA) placed a strong 11th in Stock­holm. Solid re­sults for the U.S.A.'S Sadie Bjornsen. Alaska's Erik Bjornsen l

(above) Su­san Dun­klee shot clean for Sprint sil­ver at home in Presque Isle, Me – the best-ever re­sult for an Amer­i­can wo­man on the World Cup.

(far left) Team USA fin­ished a solid sixth in the men's re­lay at An­tholz-an­ter­selva, Italy. (left) The U.S.A'S Tim Burke grabbed two sixth-place fin­ishes at the fi­nal round.

The U.S.A.'S Bryan Fletcher se­cured 20th over­all for a top-20 fin­ish to his World Cup sea­son.

(clock­wise from the top) Nita Englund (USA) led the North Amer­i­can women in 13th over­all.

Mackenzie Boyd-clowes (CAN) was the top North Amer­i­can man in 44th. Japan's Sara Takanashi re­mains un­touch­able. Peter Prevc (SLO) dom­i­nated the men's field.

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