For Randall it was her 9th career World Cup victory as she controlled each of her heats throughout the afternoon. A strong move over the top of the final climb secured her win as she crossed the finish line unchallenged. Six different countries were represented in the ladies final. In second place was Laurien Van Der Graaff of Switzerland who recorded her second ever World Cup podium and first since a third place finish in Duesseldorf in 2011. In third was Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg from Norway who just edged out Italy's Gaia Vuerich. Oestberg continues her strong season and sits second overall in the sprint standings behind Germany's Denise Herrmann who retained her lead with a 5th place finish today. Randall has now moved into 3rd in the overall sprint standings.
In the men's competition Russia put the world on notice that they will be ready for the free technique sprints in Sochi was they had 3 in the men's final and in the end two on the podium. Ustiugov who won the qualification round by an incredible +3.5 seconds was strong through all the heats to win his first ever World Cup. As a junior he won 5 Junior World Championship gold medals. Two of which were sprints but until today had not won on the World Cup level. In second place was Italy's Federico Pellegrino who recorded his career third World Cup podium. His second podium here in the Czech Republic, where he was 2nd in 2011 in Liberec. In third place was Alexey Petukhov of Russia.
Kikkan Randall (USA)
I felt really good. It was great to be competing again. I was not sure how my shape would be today. But I felt better with each round. I had no idea how much lead I had when I came to the finish.
Laurien van der Graaf (SUI)
It was really special today. In the quarter finals I had leg cramp and in the semi final I got pole in my face. I was fifth before the last uphill, I did not believe I could make it, I found some energy left and I am very happy to be on the podium.
Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR)
Racing was very good today. The conditions were much better than yesterday. It was little bit hard to fight for the positions. Kikkan was strong in front. I am really happy for the third place.
Sergey Ustiugov (RUS)
It’s been an incredible day. I felt very strong already in the qualification. In the heats I was confident I can always make it through. In the finals Federico was following and was quite close but I am happy I could win my first World Cup of my career.
Federico Pellegrino (ITA)
I am happy for second place in the competition with the best sprinters. I was very close to victory so I am bit disappointed I did not win. Ustiugov was very strong today but I think I could beat him. There are still some skate sprints this season but my goal is to win the one in Sochi.
Alexey Petukhov (RUS)
I am happy and relieved I am back on the podium. It was great day for Russia with three Russian skiers in the finals.
Ladies' Sprint Final
1. RANDALL Kikkan USA 2:44.04
2. VAN DER GRAAFF Laurien SUI +1.69
3. OESTBERG Ingvild Flugstad NOR +1.95
4. VUERICH Gaia ITA
5. HERRMANN Denise GER
6. INGEMARSDOTTER Ida SWE
Men's Sprint Final
1. USTIUGOV Sergey RUS 2:54.59
2. PELLEGRINO Federico ITA +0.18
3. PETUKHOV Alexey RUS +0.59
4. BRANDSDAL Eirik NOR
5. MORILOV Nikolay RUS
6. PETERSON Teodor SWE
Complete sprints results are available HERE.
Sprint cup standing ladies
1. Denise Herrmann (GER) 282 points
2. Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) 241 points
3. Kikkan Randall (USA) 237 points
Sprint cup standing men
1. Federico Pellegrino (ITA) 208 points
2. Sergey Ustiugov (RUS) 192 points
3. Nikita Kriukov (RUS) 185 points
Overall World Cup standing ladies
1. Therese Johaug (NOR) 1002 points
2. Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (NOR) 841 points
3. Marit Bjørgen (NOR) 676 points
Overall World Cup standing men
1. Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR) 1001 points
2. Chris Jespersen (NOR) 739 points
3. Alexander Legkov (RUS) 526
Source: FIS, www.fis-ski.com