Kikkan Randall (far right) looks to breakaway from the pack in a mass start for the 10k classic stage eight in the Tour de Ski. (Getty Images/AFP-Giuseppe Cacace)
VAL DI FIEMME, Italy (Jan. 7) - Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) showed her continuing growth as a distance skier finishing 12th in the 10k classic in stage eight at the Tour de Ski. The finish dropped her two spots to eighth in the Tour, but kept her in reasonable striking distance for top four finish. Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk took a big win over Norway's Marit Bjoergen to regain the Tour lead. Norway's Eldar Roenning won the men's 20k with Swiss Dario Cologna expanding his lead over Petter Northug. The Tour ends Sunday with a stage nine hillclimb on a 9k course up the Alpe de Cermis alpine resort in Cavalese. The stage will be televised by Universal Sports on DirecTV at 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. ET.
Kikkan Randall challenged as high as second nearing the midway mark before finishing 12th, just under a minute back.
Randall is now eighth in the tour, losing a spot to Charlotte Kalla who was third and
Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, VT) 34th, Holly Brooks (Anchorage) 45th
Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) 46th in men's 20k
Justyna Kowalczyk took back Tour lead with strong win over Marit Bjoergen
Dario Cologna continues to lead the men's Tour over Petter Northug
Tour de Ski finale Sunday features a 9k climb directly up the Alpe de Cermis ski resort
The hillclimb finale will be seeded by Tour ranking so the first up the hill takes the Tour de Ski title.
QUOTES Kikkan Randall Eight officially down now and one to go!! Felt good coming into today's 10km classic mass start. We're testing out the World Championships course for next year and it's one of the toughest classic laps I've ever seen. Reminded me of some of the bounding workouts I do back home in Anchorage though, so I was excited to test it out.
Started bib #5 and got off to a great start. I skied near the front for first 4.5k lap, even leading for a few strides just before 4k. It felt pretty manageable, my skis were great and it was fun to be at the front. The pace accelerated however just as we started the second lap, and my wheels came off a little bit from there. I kept fighting and just slipped out of the top 10 in the last kilometer. I finished 12th. It was still one of my better 10km classic results and I'm holding onto 8th in the overall Tour standings.
One more race to go, the big climb up Alpe Cermis. I've still got some good energy and fight in me, so it should be a good battle tomorrow!!
TV 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. ET - Universal Sports TV available on DirecTV and some local cable networks