Kikkan Randall (USA), Jessica Diggins (USA)
Jessie Diggins (USA), Kikkan Randall (USA)
Alexey Petukhov (RUS), Nikita Kriukov (RUS)
Emil Jönsson (SWE), Nikita Kriukov (RUS)
TEAM SPRINTERS FROM USA AND RUSSIA STORM TO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS TITLE
Americans Kikkan Randall (USA, Fischer) and Jessie Diggins (USA) as well as Russians Alexey Petukhov (RUS, Fischer skis and boots) and Nikita Kriukov (RUS) secured gold medal in team sprint in Val di Fiemme.
Jessie and Kikkan celebrate an invulnerably victory
Ladies' team sprint ended with a light surprise: Not highly favored Norwegians celebrated World Championship title but team USA. Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall already succeeded in another team sprint this winter and triumphated again in this year's sporting mega-event. The pre-decision was made during the fifth lap when Diggins increased the pace and did not lose her calm when losing her pole. She was in the lead during her whole leg so Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) lost the contact and fell self-inflicted soon after that incident. Kikkan Randall continued making pace and was able to open large gaps between the three leading girls. Without maior problems at the end of the race Diggins/Randall won clearly ahead of the Swede Charlotte Kalla (SWE, Fischer) who did a lot of work during her first two legs and Ida Ingemarsdotter (SWE) as well as Finns Riikka Sarasoja-Lilja (FIN) and Krista Lähteenmäki (FIN). Norway's Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR, Fischer) tried to do everything and caught up strong Italian's Ilaria Debertolis (ITA, Fischer) along with Marina Piller (ITA, Fischer) but finished only fourth ahead of the locals.
Russians best sprinters again
In men's race team Russia became best sprinters again. Alexey Petukhov and classical sprint World Champion Nikita Kriukov were in a good position during the whole race but they didn't make the pace. During the first two laps the Swedes made all of the work, later Maurice Manificat (FRA, Fischer skis and boots) kept the pace high until Alexey Poltoranin (KAZ, Fischer skis and boots) was ahead during the last lap. At the last uphill Emil Jönsson (SWE, Fischer skis and boots) tried to overtake his opponent but the Kazakh closed the door. After the last wave in the stadium the Swede reached the lead but Kriukov was the best sprinter again: He wasn't able to pass between Poltoranin and Jönsson in the final stretch so the Russian took the longer way around the Swede and for all that won ahead of Jönsson. Poltoranin came in third with his compatriot Nikolay Chebotko (KAZ, Fischer skis and boots) after photo finish ahead of the defending champions from Canada. Kershaw/Harvey (both CAN, Fischer) was behind for a long time in the final after Harvey broke Kershaw's pole at the second handover. As in women's race team Italy consisting of David Hofer (ITA, Fischer skis and boots) and Federico Pellegrino (ITA) finished fifth in front of their home crowd. Favorites from Norway surprisingly didn't reach the final. Paal Golberg (NOR) suffered a setback in his last lap so Petter Northug (NOR, Fischer) wasn't able to close the gap.