FALUN, Sweden (March 20) - The U.S. Ski Team's Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) finished 14th in the women's 10k freestyle pursuit World Cup in Falun. Sunday's result earned Randall another career milestone placing 10th in the World Cup overall standings.
Norway's Petter Northug and Marit Bjoergen won the four-day mini tour which ended with a handicapped start pursuit, with the start seeded by the standings after three stages. Norway's Finn Haagen Krogh topped the men's 15k race, while Italy's Arianna Follis won the women's 10k.
"This was a huge day for me," said Randall. "I started the season focused on some top results in a few races and at Oslo, but things are really improving for me. This was a super solid race. I am really excited and I’ve got five more races to go (USSA SuperTour Finals)."
Randall and Norwegian Marthe Kristoffersen skied together through much of the race, and were running very close to the top 10, but could not hold on falling behind to finish 14th. Randall was 16th in the mini tour.
The 14th place race finish was her second best non-sprint, following last weekend's 11th in the Lahti, Finland pursuit.
Sunday’s men’s 15k race was dominated by Norwegian newcomer Krogh who cut the margin to Northug to 18 seconds to take second in the tour.
Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) led the Americans on the final race of the World Cup campaign by taking 29th with Lars Flora (Anchorage) right behind in 30th. Freeman was 24th in the tour.
"Kris skied pretty solid and is moving in the right direction," said U.S. Cross Country Ski Team Coach Matt Whitcomb following the race. "He was battling Vincent Vittoz of France right till the end."
Kowalczyk clinched the overall World Cup title with 2,073 total season-long points, while Bjoergen was second followed by Italy's Arianna Follis in third. Randall finished a career best overall ranking of 10th with 657 points.
Randall also finished third in the final sprint standings and was honored with a podium ceremony following Sunday's race.
Swiss skier Dario Cologna took the overall FIS World Cup title for the season with 1566 points, while Northug was second with 1236. Sweden’s Daniel Rickardsson was third with 981 points.
Sunday's race concluded the 2011 World Cup season. The U.S. Ski Team will head stateside for the remaining two U.S. Championship events and USSA SuperTour Finals in Sun Valley, ID March 26 - April 2. OFFICIAL RESULTS
FIS World Cup
Falun, Sweden - March 20, 1011
15/10k Freestyle Technique Handicap Start
1. Finn Haagen Krogh, Norway, 37:06.3
2. Maurice Manificat, France, 37:29.5
3. Lukas Bauer, Czech Republic, 37:03.5
29. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH, 38:56.4
30. Lars Flora, Anchorage, 38:57.0
DNS: Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT Women
1. Arianna Follis, Italy, 27:30.1
2. Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, Norway, 27:37.7
3. Therese Johaug, Norway, 27:54.2
14. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, 28:27.7
25. Holly Brooks, Anchorage, 29:02.8 World Cup Finals Mini Tour Standings
1. Petter Northug, Norway, 1:46:32.0
2. Finn Haagen Krogh, Norway, 1:48:17.1
3. Dario Cologna, Swtizerland, 1:48:17.4
24. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH, 1:51:31.4
41. Lars Flora, Anchorage, 1:58:36.3 Women
1. Marit Bjoergen, Norway, 1:08:47.7
2. Justyna Kowalcyzk, Poland, 1:10:46.7
3. Therese Johaug, Norway, 1:11:19.1
16. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, 1:13:28.4
33. Holly Brooks Anchorage, 1:16:11.0
For complete results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?cal_suchsector=CC&event_id=28391 Final World Cup Overall Standings
1. Dario Cologna, Switzerland, 1,566
2. Petter Northug, Norway, 1,236
3. Daniel Rickarsson, Sweden, 981 Women
1. Justyna Kowalcyzk, Poland, 2,073
2. Marit Bjoergen, Norway 1,578
3. Arianna Follis, Italy, 1.310
For complete results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/disciplines/cross-country/cupstandings.html