CANMORE – Kristine Stavaas Skistad blew an ice-cold kiss to the racers behind her, including Jessie Diggins of the United States, after the Norwegian crossed the finish line at the Canmore World Cup on Saturday (Feb. 10).
The 12-time World Cup medallist was the fastest woman in the sprint freestyle, winning at a time of 3:03.88.
Sweden’s Maja Dahlqvist (3:04.35) and Linn Svahn (3:05.28) finished second and third, respectively.
The Norwegians took all the gold Saturday at the Canmore Nordic Centre, as fan favourite Johannes Klaebo won the men’s sprint.
The 2022 Olympic gold medallist in sprint finished at a time of 2:44.40.
Norway’s Erik Valnes (2:44.83) took silver and Sweden’s Edvin Anger (2:45.03) took home bronze.
Pierre Grall-Johnson was the only Canadian to advance to the semifinals of the sprints.
Racing in his first World Cup since having surgery last year, the 24-year-old from Ottawa finished 30th in the sprint.
He said it was a bittersweet result after he was eliminated during the quarterfinals. During the quick race, Grall-Johnson found himself in an unfavourable spot.
“I didn’t want to be leading going into that corner going into the downhill, but I saw a gap at the top, and I was sixth, so I thought I should try to get a better position, but I actually ended up in first there and that was a little bit of a surprise,” said Grall-Johnson.
“Everyone was lollygagging and at that point, I really didn’t know what other cards to pull in the moment, so I just tried to push as hard as I could over the top and the draft is so significant, but it was quite fun.”
Canmore’s Xavier McKeever finished 32nd.
The top Canadian woman was Katie Weaver in 35th.
Canmore’s Anna Parent finished 41st – the second time she’s placed 41st in as many days.
Full results can be found here.
A few notable Canucks who didn’t start Saturday were Olympians Antoine Cyr and Katherine Stewart-Jones.
However, Stewart-Jones said on social media she is racing in Sunday’s 20km mass start classic.
“Time to give it my best shot! It’s been a challenging last 6 weeks but I’m feeling healthy enough to race tomorrow. Excited for the home soil cheering,” she said.