Caldwell Podium in City Sprint
Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.) charged through a traffic jam of Swedes to finish third in a photo finish at a freestyle city sprint in the historic city of Dresden, Germany. Sweden's Hanna Falk skied with a vengeance to pickup her first World Cup win in eight years.
Caldwell, who qualified 11th, moved into the finals with a lucky loser finish in the semifinals. One of the shortest and flattest sprint courses ever, the Dresden track was an all-out sprint from start to finish. Falk led the Swedes out of the gate at a torrid pace. Caldwell was slow getting out but held with the pack, moving quickly up into position.
Just past the midway point, Sweden's Stina Nilsson crashed hard just in front of Caldwell, who navigated around and used the incident to burst up into the front half of the pack. "The crash happened right in front of me," said Caldwell, "but I managed to avoid it and then put in a big push to maintain contact with the leaders."
It was a great return to the World Cup from Caldwell who had dropped out of the Tour de Ski a week ago with illness. "I was really happy with today," she said. "It was a course unlike any we’ve ever skied before being the flattest and shortest race I’ve ever done. It was important to get in a good position from the beginning and I did a decent job of that in my quarter final and semi final, but got off to a bit of a slow start in the final. I tried to stay patient and make moves where I could."
The podium moved Caldwell into third in the FIS World Cup sprint rankings. A team sprint is set for Sunday. It was the last World Cup race of the Olympic selection period with Ida Sargent (Orleans, Vt.), Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.) and Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vt.) all confirming team spots with top 50 sprint rankings.