Andy Newell (shown here racing in Tour de Ski) was sixth in a classic sprint at the FIS Cross Country World Cup in Liberec, Czech Republic. (Getty Images/Bongarts)
LIBEREC, Czech Republic (Jan. 12) - Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) skied to his best classic sprint finish in three seasons, taking sixth in Liberec. He was the only American to qualify for the heats. Sprint leader Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) took a planned weekend off to recover from the Tour de Ski but retained the World Cup sprint lead. Theodor Peterson won the men's sprint and Mona-Lisa Malvaletho of Finland won the women's. A team sprint is on tap for Sunday with three U.S. teams expected to compete.
Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) qualified eighth and finished sixth in a classic sprint in Liberec.
It was Newell's best classic sprint in three seasons. He was the only American to qualify.
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) took a planned weekend off but retained the World Cup sprint lead.
A team sprint is set for Sunday. The USA will have three teams including Newell with Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO), Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) with Skyler Davis (Jericho, VT) and Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) with Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT).
QUOTES Andy Newell
I'm definitely happy with the way things have been going. I've been top ten in the last four World Cups and have now made the the final this year in both classic and skate. So now I'm confident I'm in the form I need to be and can be capable of a podium in either technique.
I've been having a ton if fun racing sprints this year because my fitness and speed are both there, something I was missing last year. So I'm able to control heats and make moves where I need to which us always fun. I'm really looking forward to the next World Cups in Sochi, as of course shooting for a medal at World Champs.
Chris Grover, Head Cross Country Coach Andy had another good day, making his third A-Final of the season and maintaining his fourth place standing in the World Cup sprint. Also, a bit of a relief to see Falla end up in third place today and thereby ensuring that Kikkan stays in the sprint lead for women. Sadie and Sophie were near misses in qualification only having been in Europe for two days, having come directly from Nationals. This was good acclimatization and preparation for Sophie, Skyler, and Erik, all three of whom will be racing the classic sprint here in Liberec at the U23 World Champs in just over a week. The idea was to give them some experience at this venue on these courses.