By Ryan Sederquist
Lotta and Tiril Udnes Weng displayed twin telepathy in Friday’s Tour de Ski stage 5 classic sprint. While most eyes were fixed on Tiril, the overall, sprint, and distance standings leader coming into Lago di Tesero — the stadium that will host the cross-country ski events for the 2026 Olympics — it was Lotta who swung wide coming off the final hill into the stadium and carried her speed best through the doublepole drag race to the line.
Lotta claimed her first World Cup win and Tiril was second as the twins led a Norwegian sweep of the Val di Fiemme sprint podium.
When asked by a FIS reporter in the stadium what the plan going into the final was, Lotta said the Norwegian women knew they had good skis and could pass people in the final stretch — and thus, decided “to chill behind the other girls” in the early stages.
“We know that we are good at the end, so we planned that the other girls could do the work and that we could just take it easy at the back,” she told ViaPlay after.
Tiril’s translated comments to Viaplay were, “It is rude to have double twins at the top and triple Norwegian with Mathilde. I think we are dreaming.”
Three Americans qualified for the heats, led by Rosie Brennan (13th), Jessie Diggins (16th) and Julia Kern (24th). Alayna Sonnesyn (38th) and Sophia Laukli (44th) just missed out.
Racing out of the first quarterfinal, Brennan benefited from Krista Pärmäkoski’s early pace-pushing, qualifying as the first lucky loser. Notably, Frida Karlsson, who came into Friday with a 1:28 lead in the Tour overall, finished fourth in the heat, one spot behind Brennan, but was eventually bumped from the lucky loser spot to end her day in 16th.
Diggins and Kern raced together in heat number five. Diggins positioned herself near the front early, but came around the sharp left-hand turn before the final downhill in fourth. Meanwhile, Kern used a slingshot maneuver and powerful doublepole on the gradual climb in the stadium to climb from fifth into third, where she finished, just 0.07 back from Tereza Beranova in second and 0.55 behind Astrid Øyre Slind in first. Diggins (+1.37) wound up fifth in the heat. Kern took 14th place on the day and Diggins settled for 21st.
Audio comments from Diggins were not available from USSS today.
Brennan competed in semifinal no. 1, which Pärmäkoski again took out hard. Tiril Udnes Weng flashed her strategy for the final, remaining relaxed in the middle, carving around the crowd in the final hill, and dismantling everyone with a double pole to win the heat in 3:02.47. Katharina Hennig (+0.50) showed that distance classic skiers could compete on the championship course, which tended to favor those with fast skis and a good doublepole — and tactical positioning — climbing in front of Lotta Udnes Weng and Pärmäkoski, both of whom moved through as lucky losers. Brennan (+1.27) finished in fifth in the heat and 10th overall on the day, but retained her seventh-place position in the overall Tour standings.
“I was very happy to make the semifinals today,” Brennan wrote in an email to media. “Sprinting has been such a struggle for me this year so it felt good to make a small step forward. There isn’t much snow here and it’s warm so the tracks were fast and breaking down, but everything held on just enough and my skis were good. I lacked the punch I needed to make the final, but any step forward is all you can ask for. There is still a lot left in the tour so I’m still just trying to focus one day at a time and take things as they come.”
In the final, the Norwegians sat in the pack, allowing Hennig to dictate the early pace. At the all-important final left-hand turn, the pack was bunched up considerably. Tiril escaped out the front and appeared poised for her first World Cup sprint victory. Meanwhile, arching around into the outside lane was Lotta, who appeared to have the hardest head of steam, barreling into the finish. Lotta quickly moved from fourth all the way to first, just as Mathilde Myhrvold started inching herself into podium contention. In the end, Lotta took the win — her first – Tiril claimed second, her eighth-career podium, and Myhrvold got her second career podium.
The Tour de Ski continues with a mass start 15-kilometer classic on Saturday, with the women going off at 11:45 CET (5:45 EST) and the men at 13:30 CET (7:30 EST).
Results: stage 5 | overall Tour standings