Freeman Nets First US XC Top 5 Since 1984

FasterSkierDecember 13, 2003


He skied with the leaders from the start in six-lap, low-snow race

DAVOS, Switzerland (Dec. 13) — Olympian Kris Freeman (Andover, NH), who hung-up the best U.S. cross country ski result on the World Cup since 1984 a week ago, bettered it Saturday, finishing fifth in a six-lap, 15K classic race, staged in 30-degree weather.

Olympic 15K champion Andrus Veerpalu of Estonia won in 38:13.8, finishing 2.5 seconds ahead of Russian Nikolai Pankratov. Freeman, a diabetic who takes up to six shots of insulin daily thanks to a Lilly Humalog pen, was fifth in 38:51.6 with Carl Swenson (Boulder, CO) was 41st and Lars Flora (Anchorage, AK) overcoming an apparent case of food poisoning to finish 44th in the field of 91.

“I was trying to win right from the start today,” Freeman said. “I know I can do it now. I was close.” He stands tied for 13th in World Cup points with 101.

Said Head Coach Trond Nystad, “Kris was in it all the way today. He stayed pretty steady. He was sixth with a kilometer to go and he picked it up to finish fifth.”

Draws more comparisons to Koch era

Freeman was sixth Dec. 6 in a 30K mass-start freestyle race in Dobbiaco, Italy, for the best results since Jim Galanes was fifth in Murmansk in the old Soviet Union in March 1984. By tying Galanes' top-5, Freeman tied for the best showing since Bill Koch was fourth in Davos to open the 1983 season in December 1982 and fourth again in February 1983 in Kavgolovo, outside what is now St. Petersburg, Russia.

Warm temperatures forced organizers to set a 2.5K course, which meant the skiers raced entirely in the open in the resort town, although it was not a flat course.

“The course ended with some pretty severe climb to it,” Freeman said. “It had a lot of everything — hard striding, a lot of kick double-poling. … It would've been nice if they could have set a 5K course, but that wasn't an option.”

Freeman, skiing 34th, said he had good split times throughout the race “and was right where I thought I should be.

Basic goal: “…to win”

He added, “My goal was to win, to get on the podium [top three finishers]. My secondary goal was to be in the top 10 again, so I got that, but I want to win.”

Nystad said he also was pleased with Swenson's and Flora's performance. “That was a good classic race for Carl and Lars had the best FIS points race of his career even though he was sick with food poisoning two days ago. They skied well.”

In the women's 10K CL, Valentina Shevchenko of the Ukraine got her second in the season, finishing in 28:20.1 with Finn Virpi Kuitunen second, 15.4 seconds back. No American women raced.

Canadians Beckie Scott and Sara Renner got stuck on difficult conditions, and struggled to their worst finishes on the young World Cup season.

“Every athlete has great days, and difficult days from time-to-time,” said Dave Wood, head coach, Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team. “Beckie (Scott) and Sara (Renner) know they are capable of being at the top, but they struggled today and need to put it behind them to get ready for the next one.”

Scott and Renner, Canada’s only two representatives on the World Cup circuit, finished 23rd and 38th respectively in a field of 63 athletes entered in the 10-kilometre classic World Cup event in Switzerland. Scott finished with a time of 29 minutes 48.7 seconds, while Renner posted a time of 30:29.2.

‘We missed the boat a little bit on selecting the right equipment for the conditions today and were slow from the beginning,” said Wood.

The Ukraine’s Valentina Shevchenko hit the jackpot in equipment preparation. Shevchenko was well ahead of the pack, crossing the line first in a time of 28:20.1. Finland’s Viupi Kuitunen and Gabriella Paruzzi of Italy battled it out to the wire for the final two spots on the podium. Kuitunen (28:35.5) won the final sprint to the finish, narrowing out Paruzzi by one second (28:36.5).

Relays are on Sunday's schedule. The U.S. racers will skip Tuesday's sprint in Val di Fiemme and head to Ramsau, Austria, where they'll face a 10K freestyle race and 2x15K skiathlon.


Davos, SUI — Dec. 13

Men's 15K CL (full results at bottom of article)

1. Andrus Veerplau, Estonia, 38:13.8
2. Nikolai Pankratov, Russia, 38:16.3
3. Anders Soedergren, Sweden, 38:34.4
4. Rene Sommerfeldt, Germany, 38:43.0
5. Kris Freeman, Andover, N.H., 38:51.6
Other U.S. skiers
41. Carl Swenson, Boulder, Colo., 40:20.7
44. Lars Flora, Anchorage, Alaska, 40:23.0


Women's 10K CL
1. Valentina Shevchenko, Ukraine, 28:20.1
2. Virpi Kuitunen, Finland, 28:35.5
3. Gabriella Paruzzi, Italy, 28:36.5
4. Marit Bjoergen, Norway, 28:47.9
5. Aino Kaisa Saarinen, Finland, 28:49.3
(No U.S. women raced)



1. Sommerfeldt, 263 points
2. Mathias Fredriksson, Sweden, 245
3. Axel Teichmann, Germany, 240
4. Soedergren, 229
5. Pietro Piller Cottrer, Italy, 175
13T. Freeman, 101
47T. Swenson, 20

1. Shevchenko, 400
2. Kristina Smigun, 396
3. Paruzzi, 345
4. Claudia Kuenzel, Germany, 246
5. Kuitunen, 237

For complete results, go to:

Men – Full Results
1 Veerpalu Andrus EST 38:13.8 0.0
2 Pankratov Nikolai RUS 38:16.3 +2.5
3 Soedergren Anders SWE 38:34.4 +20.6
4 Sommerfeldt Rene GER 38:43.0 +29.2
5 Freeman Kris USA 38:51.6 +37.8
6 Teichmann Axel GER 38:52.9 +39.1
7 Svartedal Jens Arne NOR 38:53.1 +39.3
8 Estil Frode NOR 38:57.3 +43.5
9 Fredriksson Mathias SWE 39:02.3 +48.5
10 Burgermeister Reto SUI 39:04.9 +51.1
11 Skjeldal Kristen NOR 39:09.2 +55.4
12 Vilissov Vladimir RUS 39:10.9 +57.1
13 Ivanov Mikhail RUS 39:14.3 +1:00.5
14 Mae Jaak EST 39:14.7 +1:00.9
15 Bauer Lukas CZE 39:15.7 +1:01.9
16 Roenning Eldar NOR 39:19.3 +1:05.5
17 Olsson Johan SWE 39:23.6 +1:09.8
18 Schluetter Andreas GER 39:31.7 +1:17.9
19 Aschwanden Wilhelm SUI 39:37.1 +1:23.3
20 Kurttila Keijo FIN 39:38.6 +1:24.8
21 Larsson Martin SWE 39:39.0 +1:25.2
22 Bajcicak Martin SVK 39:45.8 +1:32.0
23 Aukland Anders NOR 39:46.3 +1:32.5
24 Koch Beat SUI 39:48.6 +1:34.8
25 Ebisawa Katsuhito JPN 39:49.4 +1:35.6
26 Eremenko Dimirij KAZ 39:49.6 +1:35.8
26 Chebotko Nikolay KAZ 39:49.6 +1:35.8
28 Andresen Jan Egil NOR 39:50.3 +1:36.5
29 Legkov Alexander RUS 39:50.4 +1:36.6
30 Piller Cottrer Pietro ITA 39:52.2 +1:38.4
31 Angerer Tobias GER 39:52.3 +1:38.5
32 Larsson Mats SWE 39:52.6 +1:38.8
33 Kozu Masaaki JPN 39:58.3 +1:44.5
34 Saracco Cristian ITA 39:59.2 +1:45.4
35 Novikov Serguei RUS 40:00.5 +1:46.7
36 Odnodvortsev Maxim KAZ 40:02.5 +1:48.7
37 Dementiev Evgenji RUS 40:02.7 +1:48.9
37 Batory Ivan SVK 40:02.7 +1:48.9
39 Hoegberg Anders SWE 40:04.3 +1:50.5
40 Schnider Christoph SUI 40:08.4 +1:54.6
41 Krezelok Janusz POL 40:14.4 +2:00.6
42 Valbusa Fulvio ITA 40:20.1 +2:06.3
43 Swenson Carl USA 40:20.7 +2:06.9
44 Maechler Patrik SUI 40:21.6 +2:07.8
45 Santus Fabio ITA 40:22.6 +2:08.8
46 Flora Lars USA 40:23.0 +2:09.2
47 Bundi Gion Andrea SUI 40:24.7 +2:10.9
48 Filbrich Jens GER 40:25.3 +2:11.5
49 Gaillard Jean Marc FRA 40:26.5 +2:12.7
50 Similae Tero FIN 40:28.8 +2:15.0

Source: US Ski Team, Cross Country Canada


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