Japan (March 1) - Finland took charge in the first leg and went on to
win the women's 4x5K mixed relay Thursday with Germany taking silver
and Norway bronze. The U.S. foursome finished 14th.
Virpi Kuitunen explodes from the start, opening an immediate gap on the
rest of the field (credit: Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Cup leader Virpi Kuitunen handed 21.9-second lead to Aina Kaisa
Saarinen to start the second 5K leg of classic technique skiing, and
despite easing up dramatically in the final 400 meters, Finland went on
to win in 54:18.6. Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle lifted Germany from fourth
to silver on the final leg and Norway salvaged the bronze.
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK), Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA), Caitlin
Compton (Minneapolis) and Sarah Konrad (Laramie, WY) had a time of
Randall said the blistering start was too much to overcome. "With Virpi
Kuitunen taking the fast pace there, holy cow...that was a wicked fast
pace off the start."
Head Coach Pete Vordenberg agreed. "The pace at the start of the race
was higher than we've seen. Kuitunen was leading before they left the
The final women's cross country race is Saturday, the 30K classic technique.
Photos from Sapporo are available at http://ussa.smugmug.com
Audio from all the action at Worlds is available at www.ussamedia.com
For complete results:
Kikkan Randall (fourth from front on right) battles the pack in the mass start format (credit: Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)