Nordic

Caldwell and Sargent Fifth in Team Sprint

by
USSA
2016-01-17 09:11
 

PLANICA, Slovenia (January 17, 2016) – Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) and Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) led the U.S. with a fifth-place finish in the World Cup 1.2k freestyle team sprints on Sunday.

“Ida and I have done three team sprints together, and this is our best result yet,” Caldwell said. “We're picking our way to that podium!”

Sweden’s team one of Stina Nilsson and Ida Ingemarsdotter won the women’s race with Norway’s team one of Heidi Weng and Astrid Jacobsen second, and Germany’s team one of Sandra Ringwald and Hanna Kolb third. For the men, Italy’s team one of Federico Pellegrino and Dietmar Noeckler took the victory.  France’s team one of Renaud Jay and Baptiste Gros were second, followed by France’s team two of Valentin Chauvin and Richard Jouve third.

The U.S. qualified two out of the three teams in the semifinals. Caldwell and Sargent skied tactically by making great moves throughout the legs to qualify second in heat B, securing a spot in the finals. Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) and Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) qualified fourth in an extremely competitive heat, allowing them to advance as lucky losers to the finals.

“The men's semifinals were bitterly contested with many teams fighting for hundredths of a second to make it through to the finals,” coach Chris Grover said. “Andy and Simi skied really well, avoiding trouble and staying close to the front. On the final leg, Simi had to sprint for the finish with seven other teams, and finished fourth, less than one second from first and fast enough to secure a lucky loser position.”

In the finals, Sargent and Caldwell shifted between fifth and sixth throughout the exchanges in the sprint. The heat stuck close together until Norway’s Weng began lengthening the gap on her second leg. In the final leg, despite not being able to close the gap, Caldwell was able to power through and overtake Norway team two to secure a fifth-place finish.

“The top nations put in some big moves that were hard to chase, but we tried our best and maintained our position,” Caldwell said. “Team sprinting is tricky because if you ever push too hard, you could implode and move backwards quickly, so the pacing and moves are really strategic and I think we both did a great job and skied to the best of our abilities today.”

Hamilton and Newell were well on their way to a top 10 finish when they got tangled up in the exchange zone with one of the Norwegian teams who changed direction at the last second. Unfortunately, Hamilton and Newell failed to make contact before the tag zone ended, resulting in a disqualification.

“The jury made the right call by disqualifying them and both men were very understanding of the call after seeing it on video,” Grover said. “Andy and Simi typically have some of the best exchanges in the men's field, but the tag zone is always chaotic and it was even more-so today with the very icy, high-speed conditions and the relatively short exchange zone.”  

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sweden’s Nilsson and Italy’s Pellegrino were both champions of the individual sprints on Saturday and winners of the team sprints Sunday, resulting in a podium sweep for Nilsson and Pellegrino.
  • Sweden’s Nilsson and Ingemarsdotter also won last years World Cup women’s team sprint in Otepaa, Estonia.
  • The men’s podium for the team sprints is the same as Saturday’s individual sprints, Italy first, France second and third.
  • The team sprint has been held 24 times in the World Cup. Norway has 10 wins, Italy four, Germany and Sweden three, Russia two, while USA has one win.
  • Competition continues January 23-24 in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic with a 15/10k on the 23rd and a 4x7.5 and 4x5 team relay on the 24th.  

QUOTES

Sophie Cladwell
Ida and I have done three team sprints together, and this is our best result yet. We're picking our way to that podium!

The top nations put in some big moves that were hard to chase, but we tried our best and maintained our position. Team sprinting is tricky because of you ever push too hard, you could implode and move backwards quickly, so the pacing and moves are really strategic and I think we both did a great job and skied to the best of our abilities. Personally, I felt like I took a step forward from yesterday, but still have more to give.

Ida Sargent
Today was a fun and exciting race. The course in Planica is very challenging with a lot of climbing and technical downhills that are not great for recovery, so I wanted to conserve energy when I could while still putting myself in the best position to ski near the front.

I was very excited to have the opportunity to race with Sophie again. She skied really well all day and this was our best team sprint finish together!  

Chris Grover – U.S. Ski Team Head Coach
Most everyone felt a bit better today than they did yesterday in the individual sprint. The women skied relaxed and with excellent tactics in their semifinal.

The men's semifinals were bitterly contested with many teams fighting for hundredths of a second in order to make it through to the finals. Andy and Simi skied really well, avoiding trouble and staying close to the front. On the final leg, Simi had to sprint for the finish with seven other teams, and finished fourth, less than one second from first and fast enough to secure a lucky loser position.

In the finals, the jury made the right call by disqualifying Hamilton and Newell and both men were very understanding of the call after seeing the missed tag on video. Andy and Simi typically have some of the best exchanges in the men's field but the tag zone always is chaotic, and it was even more so today with the very icy fast high-speed conditions and the relatively short exchange zone.

RESULTS
Men’s 6 x 1.2k Relay
Women’s 6 x 1.2k Relay