February 18, 2017

OTEPAA, Estonia (AP) Stina Nilsson laid down a marker for the world championships with victory in a cross-country ski World Cup freestyle sprint on Saturday.

The Swede earned her seventh World Cup win of the season in 2 minutes, 49.96 seconds, beating Norwegian rival Maiken Caspersen Falla by 0.27. World Cup standings leader Heidi Weng of Norway took third, 3.75 seconds off Nilsson.

''I felt better and better during the day,'' Nilsson said.

Falla leads Nilsson in the sprint standings by 142 points. Weng has a 356-point lead in the overall World Cup standings, with Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg of Norway second.

Norway's Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo took his first career World Cup win in the men's sprint in 3:06.53, with fellow Norwegian Finn Hagen Krogh 0.6 behind and Russia's Sergei Ustyugov another 0.4 further back in third.

In his debut World Cup season, the 20-year-old Klaebo has reached four individual sprint finals to cement his status as a promising newcomer, and now sits second in the sprint standings - 20 points off Italian Federico Pellegrino, who was fourth on Saturday.

''I've been in a lot of finals, but to win here it's unbelievable,'' Klaebo said. ''You have to fight very hard, but I'm very satisfied with that race.''

Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby continues to lead the overall World Cup standings by 284 points from Ustyugov, despite not racing Saturday.

The world championships start Thursday in Finland with men's and women's sprints.

You May Like