World Cup Report: Falun Recap, Ski Tour Preview

by Chris Hecker
February 11, 2020

The two-week break is over and racing resumed in Falun, Sweden this past weekend.   Falun is one of the staples on the world cup, but this year they were low on snow and didn’t have a full course open.  Falun is known for its long uphills and steep downhills and they weren’t able to use the trails to their full extent. During the two week break Russian, Alexander Bolshunov, and Norwegian, Therese Johaug, did not lose any form taking the distance wins.  On the sprint side Norwegian sprint star, Johannes Klæbo, according to NRK (Norwegian news outlet) broke his hand using a punching bag machine that measures how hard you can punch. This left the door wide open for other competitors to claim the classic sprint win.  


  • Feb 08 Classic Sprint
  • Feb 09 Freestyle Mass Start 10km/15km

Classic Sprint

Falun’s sprint course is one of the trickiest in the world with its tight downhill’s and icy man-made course there were a lot of spills at the bottom of the hill.  In the men’s race local racer, Ben Saxton, and APU’s, Logan Hanneman, were the lone sprinters. Unfortunately, neither were able to qualify for the heats and would exit early.  Without Klæbo to fight for the win, it was Norwegian teammate Paal Goldberg who looked dominant all day. Goldberg edged out another Norwegian Erik Valnes, in second, and Bolshunov in third.  In Klæbo’s absence the sprinting field will be up for grabs until his return. In the women’s field history was made and for the first time ever they had 7 athletes qualify to the finals. US skier Sophie Caldwell and Norwegian Astrid Jacobsen tied for second in their semi-final heat qualifying both of them for the finals.  The two lucky loser positions came from the heat prior allowing seven girls to start the finals. Caldwell was the top American finisher in 7th.  The winner was Sweden’s Linn Svahn, who won by a toe length over second place Natalia Nepryaeva of Russia, and teammate Jonna Sundling of Sweden in a three-way photo finish.  The US qualified 3 others to the heats: Sadie Maubet-Bjornsen, Jessica Diggins, and Hailey Swirbul but none were able to get past their quarterfinal heats. 

Freestyle Mass Start

Johaug and Bolshunov once again got the distance win in consecutive weekend; however, it was not by the normal dominant margins.  Johaug was able to hold off Sweden’s surging Ebba Anderson by 10m. Johaug tried to put a bigger gap into the field but was unsuccessful in doing so and held onto the victory.  Norway’s Heidi Weng took the third and final spot on the podium. Diggins was the lead finisher for the US in 14th,  followed by Maubet-Bjornsen in 21st and Rosie Brennan in 23rd.  Diggins was able to hang onto the lead group for most of the race but the final lap she ended up fading off of the tough pace at the front.  The men’s race was a group race for the first couple of laps with a big train of skiers. Five skiers were able to make the break and put the pressure on the rest of the field.  Bolshunov was able to hold of Norway’s Sjur Roethe in a sprint finish to the line. Ivan Yakimushkin of Russia was able to hang onto the group finishing in a tight race for third.  For the US team David Norris raced to a season best 24th place.  David has continually progressed this season and will be eyeing a top 20 in the ski tour this weekend.  Ben Lustgarten, in his first world cup race of the season, finished second for the men in 60th.  Ian Torchia was only a couple seconds off Lustgarten’s pace to wrap up the top three for the men.  

Full results


Ski Tour

  • Ostersund, Sweden
    • Feb 15 10km/15km Freestyle Interval
      • 6:30AM start for women
      • 9:10AM start for men
    • Feb 16 10km/15km Classic Pursuit
      • 7:00AM start for men
      • 9:00AM start for women
  • Åre, Sweden
    • Feb 18 Freestyle Sprint
      • 9:15AM start for finals
  • Storlien, Sweden – Meråker, Norway
    • Feb 20 38km Freestyle Mass Start
      • 3:45AM start for Women
      • 6:20AM start for Men
  • Trondheim, Norway
    • Feb 22 Classic Sprint
      • 6:00AM start for finals
    • Feb 23 Classic Pursuit
      • 4:15AM start for women
      • 6:20AM start for men

The Ski Tour will visit four locations across Sweden and Norway.  The format will be similar to the Tour de Ski earlier in the season with an overall competition being decided upon with a pursuit race to end competition on the final day.  Athletes will have to travel by train rather than cars to each race venue. Talking to some of the racers earlier this season this is the race series that many have been peaking for. 

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:

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