Nordic

Tour Win for Caldwell

by
USSA
2016-01-05 11:33
 

OBERSTDORF, Germany (January 5, 2016) – Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) scored a career first World Cup win Tuesday in a 1.2k classic sprint, out lunging Norway’s Heidi Weng in the finals of the Tour de Ski stage in Oberstdorf. It was the first time a U.S. skier has won a classic sprint and left Caldwell in third position in the Tour de Ski sprint standings.

"Wow. Today was an incredible day. I definitely did not expect this when I woke up this morning!," she said. 

The key to Caldwell’s success was staying in control on the first long downhill. The hill became problematic throughout the women’s heats causing several crashes, including an opening round incident when Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) was taken out. Caldwell handled the hill cautiously but with intense speed in each heat advancing her all the way to the finals.

Jessie Diggins crashes out on the downhill.

“I knew I had great skis and I am confident in my downhill skills, I tried to let it rip on the downhills,” said Caldwell. After qualifying third, Caldwell won her opening heat with the fastest time of the round. She was second in the semifinals.

In the finals, Caldwell gradually moved her way up to the front of the pack, avoiding getting caught up in Sweden’s Stina Nilsson’s fall, and fought until, executing a picture perfect lunge to beat Weng at the finish line.

"I kept expecting a Norwegian or Swede to come flying by me in the finishing lanes, but I didn't see anyone until the end and then threw in the best lunge I could," said Caldwell. "It was funny because [Head Women's Coach] Matt [Whitcomb] was giving me lunge advice between each round in case I had to use it, and I guess I did!"

Women's final with Sophie Caldwell taking the win.

With her win, Caldwell became the third American woman to win a World Cup including Alison Owen Spencer, who won a race in Telemark, WI in the early days of the World Cup, as well as Kikkan Randall, who has 14 World Cup wins.

"I'm really psyched with today and feel extremely lucky to be a part of this team," said Caldwell, who comes from a Vermont family with a great legacy in the sport going back to grandfather John Caldwell. "Everyone works so hard and I think the cool thing about it all is that we wake up each day and know it could be any one of us battling for that podium. Maybe today was my day, but tomorrow can be someone else's. At the end of the day, we're all going to be there supporting each other because it's the team behind each one of us that gets us here."

In the men’s competition, Norway’s Emil Iversen also claimed his first ever World Cup victory over Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov who finished second. Iversen hung back in the final heat until the last rolling hill leading into the finish where he had the last boost of energy to out sprint Ustiugov. The U.S. qualified one out of three men with Andy Newell leading, qualifying ninth and finishing 17th overall.

The fifth stage of the Tour de Ski continues Wednesday in Oberstdorf with a 15/10k classic mass start.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sophie Caldwell is the first ever U.S. skier to win a classic sprint World Cup.  
  • Three out of seven U.S. women qualified for the sprint heats. Diggins and Ida Sargent did not advance further after crashes in the quarterfinal heats.  
  • The U.S. qualified one out of three men with Andy Newell leading, qualifying ninth and finishing 17th overall.
  • Simi Hamilton did not start the sprints on Tuesday due to an illness forcing him to withdraw from the Tour de Ski.  
  • Diggins leads the U.S. in the Tour de Ski overall rankings after four races in 10th, Sadie Bjornsen 13th, and Sophie Caldwell 14th to round out three in the top 20.
  • Noah Hoffman leads the U.S. men in the Tour de Ski overall rankings in 25th.
  • The U.S. women’s team are ranked fourth overall in the Tour de ski standings.
  • After the three stages, Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby is leading the Tour de Ski with 1:30.2 ahead of Petter Northug - the biggest gap ever after three stages of the Tour. Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg leads teammate Therese Johaug by 30 seconds.

 

QUOTES

Sophie Caldwell
Wow. Today was an incredible day. I definitely did not expect this when I woke up this morning! 

I tend to be a bit of a stronger skate sprinter, but it has been one of my goals to improve my classic sprinting and I think the course today really suited my strengths. I had amazing skis that kicked right up all the hills and had to have been some of the fastest in the field. 
 
I know the downhills are my strength and I really like courses with sketchy downhills, so my goal in the final was to stay as close to Ingvild as possible on the ups and then to send it on the downhills. 
 
I kept expecting a Norwegian or Swede to come flying by me in the finishing lanes, but I didn't see anyone until the end and then threw in the best lunge I could. It was funny because [Head Women's Coach] Matt [Whitcomb] was giving me lunge advice between each round in case I had to use it, and I guess I did! 
 
I'm really psyched with today and feel extremely lucky to be a part of this team. Everyone works so hard and I think the cool thing about it all is that we wake up each day and know it could be any one of us battling for that podium. Maybe today was my day, but tomorrow can be someone else's. At the end of the day, we're all going to be there supporting each other because it's the team behind each one of us that gets us here.

 

Sophie Caldwell talks about her historic win.

 

STREAMING AND BROADCAST (times EST)
Tuesday, Jan. 5 
3:00 p.m. – Men’s and Women’s 1.2k sprint, Oberstdorf – Universal HD

Wednesday, Jan 6
8:15 a.m. - Women's 10k classic, Oberstdorf - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM

9:15 a.m. - Men's 15k classic, Oberstdorf - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
3:00 p.m. - 15k/10k classic, Oberstdorf - Universal HD

RESULTS
Men's 1.2k classic sprint
Women’s 1.2k classic sprint

TOUR DE SKI STANDINGS (After four stages)
Men’s Standings
Women’s Standings