Last year, Maja Dahlqvist won the sprint cup as the third Swede of all time – now she can win again. No other Swedish women's skier has previously managed to win an overall cup two seasons in a row.
"Two years in a row would be powerful"
"For sprinters, it's pretty big to take the sprint hump, for me it is. It is clear that two years in a row would be powerful, Dahlqvist says.
"After the World Cup, it's often that you think 'how am I doing in the sprint cup now?', then it's like a little extra carrot here at the end of the season.
Maja Dahlqvist stood over the distance race in Falun on Friday to optimize her chances for Saturday's sprint. And it paid off. The Swede finished fifth in qualifying, giving six important points. After that, she sprinted down just top competitor Fähndrich in the final, clinching third place and another 90 points.
"As the point is this year, it will be tight until the last weekend. And in the prologue, you get quite a lot of points now versus the actual points you get after finishing the competition. So, I'll probably step up in the prologues as well if I'm going to manage to win this one," Dahlqvist said.
It was in 2021 that the new points system, in which the top ten in the sprint qualifiers receive points, was introduced. The number one gets 15 points, the second gets twelve and the third ten, then the points are distributed on a descending scale down to one point.
"Need an extra push on me"
Already in the prologue, you need to think about the overall sprint cup if you want to manage to take even those points?
"Yes, that would definitely have been an advantage. Now, I'm not a prologue rider, so maybe I need an extra push on me in the prologues to take in a little extra there, than to be a little behind like I usually do. We'll see if the subconscious is with me or not, I'll try to make good prologues anyway.
With two sprint races still on the program, a freestyle sprint in Tallinn tonight and a classic one in Lahti on Saturday, Nadine Fähndrich leads the cup – two points ahead of Dahlqvist.
"It's going to be a wasp's nest, Fähndrich will be hard to take, but I'll do what I can.