World Cup Report: Dresden Recap, Nove Mesto Preview
Another sprint weekend is in the books with some new and some old faces making a huge impact on the races. The track in the urban setting of Dresden, Germany, was fast and icy which led to many crashes and some of the favorites to not make the finals. James Schoonmaker was able to make his first World Cup start lastweekend and landed in the top 30 to gain his first FIS World Cup points. Jessie Diggins, Sadie Maubet-Bjornsen, and Rosie Brennan were unavaiable to race and spent the weekend recovering like many of the overall and distance skiers. Simi Hamiltion was also unable to race because of a leg injury.
- Jan 11 Freestyle Sprints
- Jan 12 Teamsprint
Warm conditions, artificial snow, and a lot of ice made this one of the most interesting sprint races in a long time. In the men’s field two of the favorites, Richard Jouve of France and Federico Pelligrino of Italy, crashed out of the race in the quarterfinals heats. Five of the ten heats had a crash in it, for that to happen at this level is uncommon and means that it was a slick course. For the US men, Kevin Bolger and Logan Hanneman qualified for the heats along with the youngest male in the field and teammate Schoonmaker. Unfortunately, it was not in the cards and these three failed to qualify for the later rounds. Lucas Chanavat of France was dominant in his return to Dresden and won every heat he participated in. His closest competitor was Sindre Skar of Norway who finished a full ski length behind the Frenchman. Johan Haeggstroem of Sweden just held on for the final podium spot in third. In the women’s race it was the Sophie Caldwell and Julia Kern show. Both of the US ladies qualified for the quarterfinal heats. Caldwell buzzed through her quarterfinal heat and qualified for the finals as the lucky loser in the semifinals. Unlike Caldwell, Kern failed to make it past her tough quarterfinal heat and was done in the first round. It was the Swedish youngster Linn Svanh taking her second win of the year over Slovenia’s Anamarija Lampic. Lampic dominated the sprints during the Tour de Ski and fell just short this weekend. Maja Dahlqvistst took the last podium spot in a photo finish with Lampic.
Freestyle Team Sprint
The final day in Dresden brought a warm and fast team sprint race. The US men were not be able to escape their slow semi final heat and would end the day on a sour note. France claimed their second win of the weekend with Chanavat anchoring the men’s team to victory as he out sprinted Sweden team 1 and Russia team 2by a toe length. Sweden took the second position and Russia the third after a really tight photo finish. The US women tandem of Kern and Caldwell however were able to put in a strong effort and sneak into the final heat. The women finished fifth overall but well out of contention in the final sprint to the line. The team of Svahn and Dahlqvist out lunged the Swiss team of Nadine Faehndrich and Laurien van der Graff at the line to take the top podium spot. The Swedish team 2 took third place on the podium and wrapped up the racing in Dresden.
- Jan 18 10km/15km Freestyle Individual @ 2:45AM CST
- Jan 19 10km/15km Classic Pursuit @ 4:10AM CST
Nove Mesto, in the Czech Republic, is another race venue struggling for snow. Like all of central Europe at the moment, fresh natural snow is hard to find outside of the high mountains. Nove Mesto is primarily known for biathlon but big crowds also show up for the cross country events. This course is usually really hard on the legs because the course gets soft and sugary quickly. The quicker tempo and lighter skiers will have an advantage. We should see the return of many top athletes to the racing stage, ready toattack a full distance weekend from the ground running. Also, look for Midwest skiers Alayna Sonnesyn and Ian Torchia to get their first starts on the World Cup this season.
About the author...
Chris Hecker is a Rex Wax representative and wax technician working on the World Cup this season for both cross-country and biathlon events. Hecker hails from Ham Lake, Minnesota, racing for Anoka high school and St. Scholastica College. Hecker will be providing regular updates on the World Cup racing scene this season. Chris can be reached at: