Randall turns 30 with dominating win

Beth Bragg


So this is 30.

The day after her 30th birthday, Anchorage’s Kikkan Randall crushed the competition Tuesday in the Tour de Ski freestyle sprint race in Val Mustair, Switzerland.

Randall dominated from start to finish in the 1.4-kilometer event, topping the preliminaries by nearly five seconds, dominating her quarterfinal and semifinal races and putting a gap of 50 meters on the field in the finals.

“What a great way to start my 30s and 2013!!” Randall said in an email. “I was really happy with the way I felt through the day today.

“When I made my move over the top of the hill, the fans were so loud and with the lights there were many shadows, and I didn’t know if I had gotten away from the pack.  I had no idea I had created such a gap.”

Randall was simply untouchable. She led qualifying by 4.82 seconds, she won her quarterfinal by 4.3 seconds, her semifinal by 3.4 seconds and the final by an astounding 8.7 seconds.

It was the second victory in three Tour de Ski races for Randall, a three-time Olympian and the star of the U.S. Ski Team’s nordic squad.

Randall also won Saturday’s 3-kilometer prologue in Oberhof, Germany, and placed 14th in Sunday’s 10-kilometer classic.

All four American women advanced from Tuesday’s sprint preliminaries into the quarterfinals. Jessie Diggins of Afton, Minn., finished 17th, Holly Brooks of Anchorage placed 18th and Liz Stephens of E. Montpelier, Vt., placed 25th.

Brooks, who raced last season’s Tour de Ski with a broken wrist, owns two top-20 results in her second go-round; she grabbed 11th place in the prologue.

The next challenge in the series -- a seven-race event that transpires over nine days in three countries -- is Thursday’s 15-kilometer freestyle in Toblach, Italy.

Randall ranks fifth overall in the Tour de Ski standings and the rest of the Americans are all in the top 25.

Randall is hopeful that she can ride her momentum into Thursday’s race and either improve or maintain her position in the overall standings.

“My skating is feeling so strong right now,” she said.

Beth Bragg