KUUSAMO, Finland - Anchorage’s Kikkan Randall turned in another strong performance Sunday to wrap-up the Ruka Triple 10k classic pursuit behind the untouchable champion Marit Bjoergen of Norway. Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, VT) was 17th overall in the three day mini tour with Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) 18th, Holly Brooks (Anchorage) 22nd and Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) 24th.. Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) had a strong weekend finishing in the points at 26th as Norway’s Petter Northug came on to win the men’s 15k classic. The FIS World Cup tour now heads to North America for a pair of weekends in Canada.
“If you had told me two weeks ago that I would be walking away from this weekend with a podium and fifth place overall I might not have believed you,” Randall said. “Coming back from the foot injury, I anticipated it was going to take several races to sharpen into race form. So i guess you could say I’ve ended up racing a little faster than expected. It was really cool to see Liz (Stephen) have such a strong classic race in tough conditions! I’ve been watching her classic improve and she’s just knocking at the door on World Cup top tens. And for the rest of the team, all five in the top 25 is pretty amazing and just speaks to the power of confidence, hard work and momentum.”
Randall led the U.S. Ski Team finishing fifth in the three day Ruka Triple mini tour. In the pursuit start, athletes were seeded based on their mini tour standings. Stephen was 11th fastest in Sunday’s 10k to finish 17th overall.
Randall leaves the second weekend in fifth place in the FIS World Cup overall, with five U.S. women in the top 30.
The FIS World Cup now heads to North America for racing in Quebec and Canmore, AB.
LAKE LOUISE, AB - In a day full of superlatives, Lindsey Vonn took an Audi FIS Alpine World Cup record seventh straight win in Lake Louise with U.S. Ski Team teammate Julia Mancuso second to complete a one-two U.S. women’s sweep of the weekend.
“I’m just happy - it was a good run and I’m excited to start the season off with a podium,” Mancuso said. “I had confidence from skiing well here in the past. The downhill went pretty well for me so it was just a matter of getting going.”
Vonn came down 21st in a snowy, foggy super G to knock Mancuso out of the lead. Leanne Smith was the early leader and finished eighth.
“This weekend was a huge boost for my confidence,” Vonn said. “I was definitely feeling extremely low after being in the hospital and my poor result in Aspen. But I knew if there was a place to turn it around it was Lake Louise. So I just tried to get myself every opportunity to rest and recover for the races this weekend. Every athlete has their favorite hill where they feel confident and comfortable. I know the hill like the back of my hand and have confidence knowing I have won here in the past.”
Five U.S. women cracked the top 30. Vonn’s 56th career win put her alone in second on the all time victory list behind Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell’s 62. She also became only the fourth woman to score 100 podiums. Vonn’s win boosted her into third in the Audi FIS World Cup standings behind leader Tina Maze, 397-310 despite Vonn having skipped two races this season. Cook is fifth in the overall. Early leader Leanne Smith (Conway, NH) was eighth, Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) 13th and Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) 29th. The Best in the World U.S. women’s speed team racked up a staggering 722 World Cup points over three days.
The women now head to St. Moritz, Switzerland for a super G, super combined and giant slalom next weekend.