CROSS COUNTRY Preview: Klaebo and Oestberg try to maintain season leads in Cogne

Norway's Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (Photo: Frankie Fouganthin via Wikipedia)

The northwestern Italy town of Cogne will host the Cross Country World Cup this week in the final tune-ups for the World Nordic Championships in Austria beginning next week.

Both the men’s and women’s overall races are tight:

Men (after 20 of 29 races):
1. 1,134 Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR)
2. 946 Alexander Bolshunov (RUS)
3. 755 Sjur Roethe (NOR)
4. 657 Didrik Toenseth (NOR)
4. 657 Simen Hegstad Kueger (NOR)

Women (after 20 of 29 races):
1. 1,237 Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR)
2. 1,057 Natalia Nepryaeva (RUS)
3. 1,002 Krista Parmakoski (FIN)
4. 800 Therese Johaug (NOR)
5. 695 Yulia Belorukova (RUS)

Jessica Diggins is the top American in either division and is sixth overall in the women’s standings with 693 points.

This week’s schedule includes:

16 February: Men’s and Women’s Freestyle Sprint
17 February: Women’s 10 km Classical and Men’s 15 km Classical

Johaug is looking to extend a streak of seven wins in distances races this season, but may be saving her energy for the World Championships. Oestberg won four races of 9-10 km during the Tour de Ski, which propelled her into the seasonal lead she maintains today.

Since mid-December, Sweden’s Stina Nilsson won four Freestyle Sprints in a row, until Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR) won last week in Lahti (FIN). Look for results here.