Emil Joensson (SWE) and Kikkan Randall (USA) were both double winners today. Both won their respective free technique sprint competitions and in doing so both clinched the overall sprint World Cup title. With 150 points up for grabs in the remaining two sprints in Drammen and Stockholm Randall now has a 208 point lead over Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) and with his victory today, Joensson now has a 230 point lead over Andy Newell (USA).
In the post race press conference Randall pointed out that today was her 100th career World Cup start which gave her extra motivation for victory. For Joensson it was a bit of redemption from the World Championships where he took 4th in the sprint.
It wasn't an easy victory for Randall who just out lunged a hard charging Marit Bjoergen who was contesting her first free technique sprint of the season. In third place was Alena Prochazkova (SVK) who recorded her first World Cup free technique sprint podium since the Tour de Ski in the Czech Republic in 2010.
Joensson skied tactically perfect in every round today and held off Ole Vigen Hattestad (NOR) on the finishing stretch who recorded his first World Cup podium of the year. In third was Finn Haagen Krogh (NOR).
Complete ladies' results are available here.
Complete men's results are available here.
Alena Prochazkova (SVK)
I'm very happy for the third place. I had difficult season with illness. It feels good to know I am still able to fight the best.
Marit Bjoergen (NOR)
I have not raced that much so I feel like the World Cup season has just started for me. The sprint course here was not my favourite but I felt good. I would like to be on the podium tomorrow.
Kikkan Randall (USA)
It was my 100th World Cup start today. I knew I wanted to be in the lead coming to the stadium. I was the finish line came when it did as Marit was coming from behind. It is great to win a World Cup at the end of the season.
Finn Haagen Krogh (NOR)
It was a great race. I felt very strong. It was very tight between me and Chebotko but I was able lunged my foot across the finish line faster. Almost every sprint course fits me as long as it is in free technique
Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR)
Second place feels like victory for me. I was struggling a lot this winter, especially before Christmas. I tried to follow Emil but he was too fast. The course here fit me perfectly as I did not train as much as other guys. The podium today is very important for my self confidence especially for the Olympic winter.
Emil Joensson (SWE)
It is very nice to win after fourth place in the World Championships. It was good race. I had my tactics but I had to change it little bit when Ola pulled away. I am looking forward to some great racing in Drammen and Stockholm with nice crowds.
1. Kikkan Randall USA
2. Marit Bjoergen NOR
3. Alena Prochazkova SVK
1. Emil Joensson SWE
2. Ola Vigen Hattestad NOR
3. Finn Haagen Krogh NOR
SPRINT CUP STANDING LADIES
1. Kikkan Randall USA 488 pts
2. Justyna Kowalczyk POL 280 pts
3. Celine Brun-Lie NOR 251 pts
SPRINT CUP STANDING MEN
1. Emil Joensson SWE 466 pts
2. Andrew Newell USA 236 pts
3. Teodor Peterson SWE 214 pts