Italy’s Federico Pellegrino and Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla underlined their status as the International Ski Federation (FIS) Cross-Country World Cup overall sprint winners by triumphing on stage five of Ski Tour Canada.
The pairing had been confirmed as the winners of the men’s and women’s classifications after stage three of the event but were aiming to confirm their dominance in the final sprint competition of the season.
Pellegrino was still yet to claim victory in classic sprint competition, despite his stunning form throughout the season, but earned second place finishes in both of his heats to advance to the final and remain in contention in Canmore.
The Italian was able to end his wait by completing the 1.5 kilometres distance in 3min 46.33sec, with Norway’s Eirik Brandsdal settling for second 0.54 seconds behind.
France’s Maurice Manificat completed the podium, finishing in 3:47.33.
“I wanted to end the season with a victory, it did not work out in Gatineau and Québec,” Pellegrino said.
“In the final I hoped that somebody will pick up the pace, in the second lap I attacked on the climb.
“I am excited to win the crystal globe, it means a lot to me.
“But my big goal is to fight for medals at the World Championships and in Olympic Games.”
The result failed to significantly affect the overall Ski Tour Canada standings, although Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov saw his lead over Norway’s Petter Northug cut to 19.5 seconds.
Falla claimed a convincing win in the women’s sprint event, moving clear of her rivals in the early stages of the sprint and crossed the line in a time of 4:09.26.
Her compatriot Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen was 7.07 seconds adrift in the runners-up spot.
An all-Norwegian podium was completed by Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg a further second behind.
Norway’s Heidi Weng was eliminated in the quarter-final stage of competition but her team-mate Therese Johaug was unable to close the time gap to the race leader as she also failed to qualify for the semi-finals.
The result keeps Weng 3.1 seconds ahead of the overall World Cup leader with three stages left to race.
Stage six, due to take place tomorrow, will see the women tackle a 15km skiathlon, while the men’s field will compete in a 30km event.