Kikkan Randall was ninth but retained her FIS World Cup sprint lead in Otepaa. (Getty Images/AFP-Raigo Pajula)
OTEPAA, Estonia (Jan. 21) - Both Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) and Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) pushed through tough quarterfinal battles before going out in the semis in a FIS World Cup classic sprint in Otepaa. Newell ended up seventh with Randall ninth as Swiss Dario Cologna and Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk took the wins. Randall retained her World Cup sprint lead. Classic distance racing is on tap Sunday.
Andy Newell controlled his destiny in the quarterfinals positioning himself for a strong second place finish to move to semis where he finished fourth after a crash and missed finals.
Kikkan Randall survived a blistering pace in the quarterfinals finishing third and moving on with the fastest lucky loser time. In the semis, Randall drew a tough start position in an extremely strong field and was unable to get into position to move up.
Randall remained in the FIS World Cup sprint lead, with Russian Natalia Matveeva moving up. Randall stayed fourth in the overall standings.
Ida Sargent qualified and finished 29th.
World Cup continues Sunday with classic distance racing.
QUOTES Andy Newell It feels good to be back into the top ten. I know thats the level I've been skiing at all year it's just taken a while to get through some clean heats.
Today I was able to do that in the quarterfinals and put myself in a position to attack the finish. Today I went on classic skis in the qualification and switched over to skate skis and doublepoling for the heats.
It still wasn't a day without troubles though. I got my skis poled through - literally a hole through the entire ski - and a piece of the base got stripped off by the Russian crash in the Semifinals.
But I'm excited that things are moving in the right direction and I'm stoked to be able to fight for the final again.
Kikkan Randall A solid day for me. I skied strong through the qualification and quarterfinal but ran out of gas a little bit in the semifinal. Really exciting finishes in all the heats today with such a long finish stretch.