Naeslund and Mobaerg stomp to victories in Nakiska

As we entered the weekend with the last Olympic qualifying competitions here in Nakiska (CAN), one thing was sure; athletes would go full send and not hold back in the fights for the last open spots in their respective Olympic teams.

Although throughout the entire week of training and qualification, temperatures were oddly high with up to plus 7 degrees, on Friday it was definitely more of a winter feeling and a little colder again, which was good for the course, as the snow got a bit harder and therefore athletes were faster on their skis.

Naeslund continues winning streak

The last four women of the day in the start gate were once again season-long rivals Sandra Naeslund (SWE) and Fanny Smith (SUI), as well as Austria’s Katrin Ofner and Daniela Maier from Germany.

Sandra Naeslund, who has been dominating this season very strongly with six victories from seven races once again was absolutely on fire on Friday. In a league of her own, Naeslund won each heat up until the big final and also there, she again was the fastest out of the gate.

Smith and Maier were head-to-head sitting in second position, but then entering the upcoming turn, Smith was able to make a pass on Maier, despite of taking the outside line and so the Swiss athlete secured the second spot of the heat. Whereas, Ofner fell behind after the start section and wasn’t able to make up for it in the following sections of the course.

The rest of the competition, the heat stayed in this exact order and it seems to us that the Swedish servicemen also did a great job, because Naeslund was super fast on her skis and in the end crossed the finish line with a margin of 1.30 seconds ahead of Smith and even 2.19 seconds ahead of Maier, who came in third.

Mobaerg completes Swedish winning day

For the big final of men, the Swedish brothers David and Erik Mobaerg were joined by the only Canadian athlete in a big final on Friday, “Mr. Quadzilla” Kevin Drury and Germany’s Tobias Mueller.

It was the Mobaerg brothers who got into the front of the heat after the start section, but getting into the bank turn, David Mobaerg was able to get in front and his brother Erik fell into fourth place with Kevin Drury and Tobias Müller making the passes on the Swedish athlete.

It was a pretty clear race until Erik Mobaerg tried to make a pass on Mueller, but unfortunately skied on the German’s skis, which resulted in the one brother crashing.

Drury tried to attack David Mobaerg on the last section of the course, just before the finish line, but did not catch the dominating Swedish athlete.

That way, Mobaerg this season became the first repeat winner on the men’s side, Drury made his way back to the podium on home soil and Tobi Mueller grabbed his very first career podium.

World Cup standings

Already before this competition, it was clear that World Champ Sandra Naeslund would keep her leader bib, as her margin to Fanny Smith, sitting in second rank, was bigger than 100 points. And, of course, with today’s performance, the Swede came one step closer to taking the ski cross Crystal Globe and now still leads 144 points ahead of Smith. In third place, it’s Brittany Phelan, who finished 7th on Friday’s Nakiska competition, and therefore was able to secure some important World Cup points.

On the men’s side, it was clear that it would be a battle between the French team mates Bastien Midol and Terence Tchiknavorian for the leader bib, as they entered the competitions with only 47 points apart. In the end, it was Bastien Midol who got to keep the leader bib and now has a total of 389 points, while Tchiknavorian sits in second rank with 328 points and in third, we have currently Ryan Regez who holds 217 points to his name.

There is another race coming up in Nakiska on Saturday, which will be the absolutely last Olympic qualifying competition. We can for sure expect nothing but full gas, so better tune in!

Ahead of the finals, there will be the women’s qualification at 10:45 LOC, which had to be cancelled on Thursday and then we will go straight into finals at 12:15 LOC/ 20:15 CET.

FIS Press Release

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