How much skate skiing should be allowed in a classic sprint race? Quite a bit, if Wednesday’s race in Drammen, Norway was any indication. “I think classic skiing took a step backwards.” Said USST Coach Matt Whitcomb. “I don’t think the line between what’s legitimate for classic technique was respected yesterday, and I think it opens a can of worms that makes the line very fuzzy now.”
The action in the distance skate mass start races at Junior Nationals got off to an unfortunate start in the U20 boys race with a crash in the course’s ‘Nascar Corner’ as the athletes were still in the stadium resulting in a neutral start for final four races of the day to avoid further pileups. Here is a look at some of the action in this first race at the championships in Stowe, Vermont today.
Sara Studebaker and Susan Dunklee qualified for Saturday’s World Cup pursuit in Pokljuka, Slovenia – Studebaker because of her good shooting, and Dunklee despite losing a part of her rifle sight on trail. “I had very little chance of lining it up correctly to hit anything,” Dunklee lamented after an incident that drew attention from international commentators.
Bjorn Ferry had a disappointing Olympics – he couldn’t come even close to repeating his 2010 gold medal in the pursuit – but came back to win the first World Cup since Sochi. For the United States, Lowell Bailey placed 12th and Tim Burke 16th, while Brendan Green led Canada in 21st. “I’m psyched to start of the last trimester with a top 15,” Bailey said.
Christian Gow placed sixth in the men’s individual and Sarah Beaudry and Julia Ransom sixth and seventh in the women’s race at World Youth and Junior Championships on Wednesday. “We have 4 provinces represented in the top 6 results [this week] with British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec… it’s an exciting future,” coach Roddy Ward said.
It was shaping up to be another battle between the newest star of the Gross family, biathlon royalty from Germany, and upstart Sean Doherty from the United States. But a Russian swept in to take gold in the youth men’s individual race. Nevertheless, two Canadians also made the flower ceremony and two American women were top ten in their own individual competition.
Closing in on the finish it was Falla and Bjørgen neck and neck, with Nilsson gaining ground. At the line it was Falla’s foot that crossed before Bjørgen’s. Falla said after the race, “Marit [Bjørgen] and I train a lot together and Marit usually wins when we practice the finish. It is nice to beat her.”