TRONDHEIM, Norway (Feb. 24) – Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), sprint champion of the 2004 SuperTour, collected his first World Cup points Tuesday, finishing 25th in a freestyle sprint at the 1997 World Championships venue at Granaesen Park. Janusz Krezelok gave Poland its first World Cup victory in cross country, edging sprint world champion Thobias Fredriksson of Sweden, while Norway's Marit Bjoergen, the women's world champion, won her fourth straight sprint.
Martin Koukal (CZE) finished an impressive 7th, less than two months after breaking his arm in a sprint in Peking, China.
Newell, a member of the U.S. Development Team from Stratton Mountain School, earned start rights to the final three weeks of World Cup races by winning the SuperTour sprint crown. He races again Thursday as the tour moves to Drammen, Norway, south of Oslo, for classic technique sprints.
Canada’s women’s cross-country ski duo of Beckie Scott and Sara Renner had a difficult day on a wet and sloppy one-kilometre sprint track in Trondheim, Norway on Tuesday.
With rain pelting down throughout the race, Scott, of Vermilion, Alta., qualified for the finals with the top-16 women, but was knocked out in the opening heat and finished 14th, while Sara Renner, of Canmore, Alta., finished 24th in the one-run qualification round, which were considerably slower times than usually posted by the 48 women entered in the event.
â€œWe just weren’t very good today, but that happens,â€ said Dave Wood, head coach, Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team, who is preparing his troops for a busy week which has them competing four times in various countries throughout Europe. â€œThe conditions were terrible today with warm weather and rain. It seemed more like a 5-kilometre race than a sprint, but it was the same for everyone and we’ll just have to regroup.â€
The finals consist of four heats of four athletes; with the top-two athletes in each heat moving onto the next round and the bottom two sent packing.
Hometown favourite, Marit Bjoergen, was the eventual winner in the women’s final. Two German athletes joined Bjoergen on the podium. Evi Sachenbacher grabbed the silver, while Claudia Kuenzel was third.
The Canadian men did not suit up on Tuesday in Norway as they are preparing for a 50-kilometre marathon this weekend.
Meanwhile, upstart cross-country skier, Chandra Crawford, continues to shine at an OPA Continental Cup event in Capracotta, Italy. The 20-year-old Canmore, Alta. native, who was not supposed to travel to Italy until she won two medals 10 days ago at the Under-23 World Championships in Soldier Hollow, Utah, followed up a silver medal sprint on Sunday with a ninth-place finish today to lead the Canadians in the 10-kilometre classic event with a time of 33 minutes 50.3 seconds.
Dan Roycroft, of Port Sydney, Ont., led the Canadian men in the 15-kilometre classic event, finishing 11th with a time of 44:42.9.
Source: USST, CCC