CROSS COUNTRY SKIING: Klaebo and Nilsson win Sprints in Tolbach

Sweden's Olympic Sprint champ Stina Nilsson

The first of seven stages in the 13th Tour de Ski started in Tolbach (ITA), with Russia dominating the distances races and familiar, Scandinavian winners in the sprints.

Sweden’s Stina Nilsson, the PyeongChang Sprint champion, won her second World Cup Sprint of the season, 17th of her career. Behind was a photo finish for second between Swede Ida Ingemarsdotter and American Jessica Diggins, with Ingemarsdotter winning silver by 0.07.

It was Diggins’ first World Cup medal of the season and her 17th career medal. Teammate Sadie Bjornsen finished sixth in the Sprint final.

In the men’s Sprint, Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo won his second straight World Cup Sprint race and he won his third medal in four Sprints this season.

The distance races were all Russian. Natalia Nepryaeva, 23, won the women’s 10 km Freestyle for her first career World Cup victory and only her second career World Cup medal! She beat Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg, who has 11 career World Cup golds! And, no Therese Johaug in this race.

The underrated Sergey Ustiugov – still just 26 – won the 15 km Freestyle by 12.2 seconds in 30:34.1, collecting his 12th individual World Cup gold medal. He’s the defending Tour de Ski winner and he’s off to a good start. The remainder of the Tour de Ski schedule:

∙ 1 January: Men’s Sprint Free in Val Mustair (SUI)
∙ 2-3 January: Men’s 15 km Pursuit Classical & 15 km Pursuit Free in Obertsdorf (GER)
∙ 5-6 January: Men’s 10 km Mass Start Classical & 9 km Pursuit Free in Val di Fiemme (ITA)

∙ 1 January: Women’s Sprint Free in Val Mustair (SUI)
∙ 2-3 January: Women’s 10 km Mass Start Classical & 10 km Pursuit Free in Obertsdorf (GER)
∙ 5-6 January: Women’s 10 km Mass Start Classical & 9 km Pursuit Free in Val di Fiemme (ITA)

Summaries from Tolbach:

FIS Cross Country World Cup
Tolbach (ITA) ~ 28-29 December 2018
(Full results here)

Men’s 1.3 km Sprint: 1. Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR), 2:17.99; 2. Richard Jouve (FRA), +0.34; 3. Lucas Chanavat (FRA), +0.39; 4. Sindre Skar (NOR), +0.76; 5. Emil Iversen (NOR), +1.67.

Men’s 15 km Freestyle: 1. Sergey Ustiugov (RUS), 30:34.1; 2. Simen Hegsted Krueger (NOR), 30:46.3; 3. Alexander Bolshunov (RUS), 30:56.0; 4. Andrey Melnichenko (RUS), 31:01.5; 5. Didrik Toenseth (NOR), 31:02.1.

Women’s 1.3 km Sprint: 1. Stina Nilsson (SWE), 2:36.26; 2. Ida Ingemarsdotter (SWE), +3.00; 3. Jessica Diggins (USA), +30.7; 4. Yulia Belorukova (RUS), +3.16; 5. Linn Soemskar (SWE), +3.26. Also: 6. Sadie Bjornsen (USA), +3.40.

Women’s 10 km Freestyle: 1. Natalia Nepryaeva (RUS), 23:19.9; 2. Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR), 23:20.2; 3. Anastasia Sedova (RUS), 23:30.8; 4. Krista Parmakoski (FIN), 23:37.3; 5. Heidi Weng (NOR), 23:41.1. Also in the top 25: 6. Jessica Diggins (USA), 23:47.1; … 16. Sadie Bjornsen (USA), 24:27.2.