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Randall of US wins cross-country WCup sprint title

March 9, 2013

LAHTI, Finland (AP) — Kikkan Randall of the United States clinched the cross-country World Cup sprint title on Saturday by edging Norwegian world champion Marit Bjoergen at the line in the Lahti Ski Games.

Randall and Bjoergen were in a two-day duel on the final stretch of the 1.55-kilometer freestyle race, and the American managed to throw her ski forward to finish 0.07 seconds ahead.

“It was my 100th World Cup start, and I was hoping to make it special,” said Randall, who also won the World Cup sprint title last season. “I could feel her coming a little bit, and had to make sure I was ready to lunge at the finish line.

“It was my first chance to race against her in a skate sprint all season, so I’m glad it was fun and exciting.”

Randall, who won the team sprint at the world championships last month with Jessica Diggins, has an insurmountable 208-point lead over Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk in the discipline standings with two races left.

Sweden’s Emil Joensson clinched the men’s sprint title by beating Ola Vigen Hattestad of Norway in Saturday’s race. Joensson has 466 points in the sprint standings, with American Andrew Newell second at 236.

“It was a good final after a pretty bad start,” Joensson said. “I had to concentrate to avoid collisions, and I knew that Hattestad was the man to beat and I had good skis, too.”

Hattestad, a former sprint world champion, earned his first podium finish in more than a year after struggling all season following an illness.

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