ROGLA, Slovenia (Dec. 20) – U.S. Ski Team sprint specialists Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) and Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) led the U.S. Sunday. Randall rallied from 39th halfway through the 15K classic to finish 30th and Newell landing 41st in the 30K in the World Cup in Rogla on Sunday.
The finishes mark the best World Cup distance results ever for Randall and Newell who are both sprint specialists.
"Kikkan just said she was real flat," said U.S. World Cup coach Justin Wadsworth. "She said she struggled from the beginning."
Randall finished 3:28.7 behind Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk, who won. Norway's Marit Bjoergen was second and Anna Haag of Sweden was third.
Newell followed his sixth in Saturday's sprint by leading the U.S. men in 41st. Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) did not finish despite sitting in seventh place through 10 of 30 kilometers.
Freeman, who has diabetes, was brushing up against the leaders before he hit a wall halfway through the race.
"With these longer races, it's kind of a crapshoot," Wadsworth said of Freeman's occasional health struggles. "It's not the easiest thing to figure out. Obviously, his fitness is really good."
Lars Flora (Bend, OR) took 47th in the men's race, won by Norway's Peter Northug.
Most of the U.S. Team will return to their host nation to train over the Christmas holidays for U.S. Nationals in Anchorage in early January.
"I think everyone's ready to get back to North America," Wadsworth said.
2010 Viessmann FIS Cross Country World Cup
Rogla, Slovenia - Dec. 20, 2009
Individual Distance Classic
Men - 30K
1. Peter Northug, Norway, 1:22:55.8
2. Alexander Legkov, Russia, 1:22:56.5
3. Maxim Vylegzhanin, Russia, 1:22:56.7
4. Giorgio Di Centa, Italy, 1:22:57.3
5. Jens Filbrich, Germany, 1:22:57.7
41. Andrew Newell, Shaftsbury, VT, 1:27:42.2
47. Lars Flora, Bend, OR, 1:28:58.5
DNF - Kris Freeman, Andover, NH
Women - 15K
1. Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland, 45:01.9
2. Marit Bjoergen, Norway, 45:06.5
3. Anna Haag, Sweden, 45:06.6
4. Kristin Stoermer Steira, Norway, 45:17.1
5. Kristina Smigun-Vaehi, Estonia, 42:22.5
30. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, 48:26.6