Kikkan Randall is closing in on a FIS World Cup sprint title. She is shown here in a January competition. (Getty Images/AFP - Raigo Pajula)
LAHTI, Finland (March 4) - The U.S. Ski Team's Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) inched ever closer to the FIS World Cup sprint title Sunday, finishing fifth in a hard fought battle in the Lahti classic sprint. Norway's Marit Bjoergen took the win. Randall now holds a 138 point margin over Russian Natalia Matveeva, who was seventh, with two sprints left and a total of 150 points available. She can clinch the title this Wednesday in another classic sprint in Drammen, Norway. Emil Joensson of Sweden won the men's with Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) 11th.
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) extended her World Cup sprint lead finishing fifth in a classic sprint in Lahti.
Randall won the quarterfinal heat and was second to Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk in the semifinals.
Russian Natalia Matveeva, the only skier still mathematically in the hunt, was seventh putting Randall's lead to 145 with two events remaining and only 150 points available.
Randall can clinch the title Wed. in a classic sprint in Drammen, Norway.
World Cup now moves to Drammen, Norway for a classic sprint Wed. then on to Holmenkollen in Oslo.
QUOTES Kikkan Randall
The course is long and tough, with some of the most climbing. Conditions were awesome today, sun was out and fast tracks.
It was a super fast pace from the start and I tried to follow it, but I was much more tired than the semi. I didn't ski the steep hill as well as I had been and missed a couple opportunities to challenge for 4th. But overall I gave what I had. My classic sprinting has really improved this year. I still have some work to do but i'm happy with the progress.