Two Swedes notch wins at Nordic World Cup

Swedes topped the podium twice over the weekend with Nordic World Cup wins in Norway. A Swedish alpine skier also won silver in the slalom at the World Ski Championships in Germany.

Two Swedes notch wins at Nordic World Cup
Sweden's Emil Jönsson celebrates win in World Cup sprint in Drammen, Norway

Sweden’s Emil Jönsson captured his fourth win of the World Cup cross-country season in the sprint on Sunday in Drammen, Norway ahead of this week’s Nordic skiing world championships.

Jönsson, who has not yet won a major title, beat Canada’s Alex Harvey and hometown favourite Petter Northug in the final for his eighth career success.

Jönsson’s victory allowed him to top the World Cup standings in the sprint ahead of Norwegian Ola Vigen Hattestad, who opted to rest this weekend ahead of Thursday’s opening of the world championships in Oslo.

One day earlier, teammate Daniel Rickardsson recorded his maiden Nordic World Cup skiing victory, taking the 15km race in a time of 37 minutes, 19.1 seconds.

Rickardsson, a member of the Swedish Olympic-winning relay team, finished ahead of Norwegian duo Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Northug, who finished 29 and 30 seconds adrift respectively.

Switzerland’s 15km Olympic champion Dario Cologna failed to make the podium in his first event since his victory in the Tour de Ski, but retained his lead in the overall standings.

Separately, Sweden’s Jens Byggmark won silver in the slalom at the World Ski Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany on Sunday, 0.43 seconds behind France’s Jean-Baptiste Grange, who won in 1:41.72 over the two legs, and ahead of Italy’s Manfred Mölgg, who was 0.61 behind Grange.

Byggmark skied himself into a medal with an impressive performance on the second run having been sixth-fastest in the morning.

“Today I had real confidence and it was just my day, I am super happy. I didn’t let my feelings get to me. I just wanted to think about my skiing, not where it would get me,” he beamed.

Having burst onto the ski scene with two victories in two days on the challenging pistes of Kitzbühel back in January 2007, Byggmark explained why he then dropped down the rankings and vowed not to repeat his mistakes.

“I really went backwards after 2008, I didn’t really know what I had done wrong or what I needed to do to get it right. I don’t know what I have changed to get this silver medal, I just know I have done the right thing. This means more to me than winning Kitzbühel twice,” he said.

“Everything was wrong for me in 2008, they shortened the distance between the gates, I didn’t have time to change my technique, I had to change everything. Many times, I thought of quitting, but I knew I could do it and wanted it to,” he added.

It was the 25-year-old’s second silver medal of these world championships, having also been part of the Swedish team which finished second in last Wednesday’s team event. The men’s slalom brought the curtain down on the two-week long championships.

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Swede claims home win in World Cup slalom

Maria Pietilä Holmner of Sweden provided a home win in the women's World Cup slalom at Åre on Saturday, holding on to her leading time from the first run in a closely-fought contest.

Swede claims home win in World Cup slalom
Maria Pietilä-Holmner celebrates her victory on December 13th 2014. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Pietilä Holmner clocked 1 minute 43.65 seconds to win by just 0.06secs from overall World Cup leader Tina Maze of Slovenia with another Swede, Frida Hansdotter, third 0.32secs off the pace.

For the 28-year-old Swede it was a welcome return to form four years after she won a World Cup slalom in Aspen followed by a parallel slalom in Munich six weeks later.

"It's amazing. This means so much to me and I have proven to myself that I can beat the best again," she said.

"I felt pretty confident. I just promised myself to try and take a chance.

We have such a strong team, both in the slalom and giant, so watch out for Sweden."

US slalom champion Michaela Shiffrin placed fourth after trailing the lead by over half a second on the first run, meaning she remains winless this season.

Maze's second place bolstered her lead in the overall standings. She now has 560 points and is more than 200 points clear at the top.

Maze won the Åre giant slalom on Friday from Sweden's Sara Hector.