Randall 5th in World Cup 10-K

ADN staff and wire reportsDecember 1, 2013 

New season, same Kikkan Randall.

The Anchorage skier turned in another strong performance, vaulting from seventh place to fifth in Sunday's final race of the World Cup season-opening Ruka Triple.

Randall, a three-time Olympian, used her strength in freestyle skiing to improve her position in the final standings of the three-race mini-tour.

Randall, who claimed second place in Friday's classic sprint and was 15th in Saturday's 5-kilometer classic, said she was ready for the switch to skate-skiing for Sunday's 10-kilometer pursuit.

"It felt good to be back on my skate skis," she said in a U.S. Ski Team release. "In classic I feel like I have to focus so hard on my technique and I can't always use the power and fitness that I have.

"But today I felt so comfortable on my skis and was able to use my full capacity. "

Randall's effort came on a tremendous day for the Americans in Kuusamo, Finland. She and teammates Jessie Diggins and Liz Stephen recorded the seventh, eighth and ninth fastest times in the women's race.

Diggins, who lost a glove and pole when someone stepped on her pole, moved from 46th to 24th place. Stephen also made a huge jump, going from 67th to 32nd.

Noah Hoffman paced the U.S. men by clocking the fastest time in the men's 15-K to rocket from 38th place to ninth.

Anchorage's Holly Brooks also made a big jump, moving from 54th t 34th.

Sadie Bjornsen, who trains with Randall and Brooks at Alaska Pacific University, was among the few Americans who dropped in the standings. Her strength is classic skiing -- she led the American women in Saturday's 5-K classic -- and she fell from eighth place to 17th in the freestyle race.

Norway's Marit Bjoergen won the race to win the mini-tour. Poland's Justyna Kowalski, the winner of the first two races, slipped to fourth place, out of the medals.

Randall, who will be a medal favorite in the upcoming Winter Olympics, outsprinted two elite skiers -- Astrid Jacobsen and Yulia Tcheckaleva -- to secure fifth place.

"She put the hammer down around the last corner and into the finishing straight, and the others could not respond," U.S. Chris Grover said.


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