Maiken Caspersen Falla heads into tomorrow’s International Ski Federation (FIS) Cross-country Skiing World Cup event in Tolbach without her four closest rivals for the sprint crown present.
The Norwegian who won gold in the sprint race at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi goes to the Italian resort on 272 points so far this season, which puts her 84 ahead of teammate Ingvild Flugstad Østberg.
Falla, who won the sprint World Cup title last season, will have the perfect opportunity to increase the gap as Østberg has chosen not to compete as she looks to recover from the Tour de Ski, which finished on Sunday (January 8).
Fellow Norwegian Heidi Weng, who claimed the women’s Tour de Ski title and currently sits fourth in the sprint World Cup, will also be absent from Torbach.
Along with Weng and Østberg, Stina Nilsson of Sweden, currently third in the standings, and Finnish skier Krista Pärmäkoski, fifth, will also not feature.
Tomorrow will see an individual race following a qualification round with a team sprint on Sunday (January 15).
The world’s leading male cross-country skiers will also be in Torbach with an itinerary matching the women.
Going into the weekend, Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov, who claimed the men’s Tour de Ski crown last week, is on top of the sprint World Cup leaderboard with 182 points.
Norway’s Finn Haagen Krogh is second on 165 and his fellow countryman Paal Golberg is a further 11 points behind in third.