Kikkan Randall wins World Cup tuneup
DRAMMEN, Norway -- Kikkan Randall of the United States and Emil Joensson of Sweden won cross country World Cup sprints Sunday in the final tuneup for the world championships in Oslo this week.
Randall finished the 1.2-kilometer freestyle race in 2 minutes, 17.2 seconds for her third career victory and second straight sprint win. Maiken Caspersen Falla crossed 0.3 seconds behind and Charlotte Kalla of Sweden was third, 0.6 seconds back.
"I really enjoyed the short, fast course and exciting finish," Randall said. "I took the last month off from World Cup racing so I was little nervous wondering how my fitness would be."
The Alaskan leads the sprint standings with 391 points, eight more than Arianna Follis of Italy.
Randall also won the freestyle sprint in Liberec, Czech Republic, in January. Her first World Cup victory came in the same event in Rybinsk, Russia, in 2007.
Joensson held off Alex Harvey of Canada to win the men's 1.6K freestyle race in 3:04.8. Harvey trailed the Swede by 0.6 seconds. Home favorite Petter Northug was third, 0.9 seconds back.
"I felt I had some energy left and gave it all I had for the finish," Joensson said. "It's always good to win before the world championships, but the Russians will be strong, as will the Norwegians."
Kris Freeman placed 23rd for the U.S. in the men's race.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press