Continental CupRacingMontreal’s Gaiazova, Russia’s Babikov Win Skiathlon

FasterSkier FasterSkierNovember 30, 2003

CANADA’S NORDIC SKIERS CRUISE TO PODIUM AT SEASON-OPENING HAYWOOD NORAM CANADA CUP

—Montreal’s Gaiazova, Russia’s Babikov, capture gold in unique skiathlon event—

Vernon, B.C.—The talent pool for cross-country skiers in Canada is proving to be deep after athletes wearing the maple leaf captured five of the six positions on the podium in the skiathalon event at the Haywood NorAm Canada Cup on Sunday.

The skiathalon is a unique nordic event which replicates a triathlon. Athletes begin the first leg of the race in a mass start format, skiing in a classic style to a transition area where they replace classic ski equipment for skate skiing equipment, while on the clock, to complete the second half of the event. Sunday’s skiathalon was 10-kilometres for women and 15-kilometres for men.

Dasha Gaiazova of Montreal was the first to cross the finish line of the 25 athletes entered in the women’s division, posting a time of 30 minutes 38.5 seconds at Sovereign Lake Nordic Club near Vernon, B.C. It was veteran against rookie in a thrilling sprint to the finish for the silver medal position, and the youngster prevailed. Chandra Crawford of Canmore, Alta., who is enjoying early success in her first year on the Canadian Senior Cross-Country Ski Team, crossed the line in a time of 31:03.7, three seconds ahead of 10-year veteran Milaine Theriault of St. Quentin, N.B. (31:06.6).

The 20-year-old Crawford also captured gold in the opening event on the Madshus Sprint Series Friday, while Theriault continues to condition herself for World Cup events, competing in her first series of competitions since delivering a baby this summer.

Russia’s Ivan Babikov was the fastest of the 65 men competing on the 15-kilometre track, which meandered through the thick forest, and rolling terrain under sunny and cold conditions on Silver Star Mountain. Babikov grabbed the gold with a time of 39:14.8. George Grey of Rossland, B.C., who won gold on Thursday in the 15-kilometre classic event, finished second with a time of 39:33.4. Drew Goldsack of Red Deer, Alta. rounded out the top three with a time of 39:35.5.

Dave Nighbor of North Bay, Ont. was the top junior on the day in the men’s category finishing with a time of 40:52.4, while Perianne Jones of Almonte, Ont. was the top junior female on the course posting a time of 32:33.1

“I think this was a great start to the season, and a real indicator of what work needs to be done,” said Dave Wood, head coach, Canadian Senior Cross-Country Ski Team, who will be heading to Norway this week to join Canada’s elite athletes, Beckie Scott and Sara Renner, who are competing in their opening World Cup event of the season, December 6-7, 2003. “We witnessed some strong performances this week by our young skiers, and that is a sign things are going well. We are looking forward to the rest of the season.”

The next competition on the calendar for the Haywood NorAm Canada Cup, the best developmental series for cross-country skiing on the continent that includes athletes from Canada, Russia and the United States, is slated for Calgary, December 13-14, 2003, where one of the strongest fields of the season is expected to assemble at Canada Olympic Park.

<Full Results can be found here.

HAYWOOD NORAM CANADA CUP TOP RESULTS:

Women: 10 Kilometre Skiathalon

Name                          Hometown                 Result

1. Dasha Gaiazova      Montreal                        30:38.5

2. Chandra Crawford   Canmore, Alta..             31:03.7

3. Milaine Theriault       St. Quentin, N.B.           31:06.6

4. Jackie Benson         Prince George, B.C.      32:00.3

 

Junior Women

1. Perianne Jones            Almonte, Ont.            32:33.1

 

Men: 15 Kilometre Skiathalon

Name                          Hometown                   Result

1. Ivan Babikov            Russia                          39:14.8

2. George Grey           Rossland, B.C.             39:33.4

3. Drew Goldsack       Red Deer, Alta.             39:35.5

4. Devon Kershaw      Sudbury, Ont.               39:36.4

 

Junior Men
1. Dave Nighbor          North Bay, Ont.        40:52.4

Source: Cross Country Canada

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