Drammen, NOR-Canada’s cross-country ski women, Sara Renner and Beckie Scott, not only welcomed team member, Milaine Theriault, back to the World Cup circuit on Thursday, but they also posted two top-10 results.
Renner, of Canmore, Alta., nailed down her strongest sprint result of the season to lead the Canadian trio in Drammen, Norway. The 27-year-old, who qualified 11th for the final round of head-to-head heats with the top-16 athletes, after powering her way around the 1.2-kilometre track in a time of two minutes 45.26 seconds, made her way into the consolation final where she finished eighth.
Scott, of Vermilion, Alta., also climbed back into the top-10 after qualifying in ninth spot with a time of 2:45.14. The Olympic gold medallist made her way into the elimination round, but was knocked out in the opening heat and was forced to settle for 10th spot.
Renner and Scott’s Olympic teammate Milaine Theriault made her first appearance on the World Cup circuit in more than a year. The St. Quentin, N.B. native had taken some time off to have a baby boy, and has been whipping into shape back in North America on the Haywood NorAm Canada Cup circuit. While Theriault missed qualifying for the finals, she did finish 42nd after crossing the line with a time of 2:52.52 in a field loaded with international talent.
Marit Bjoergen, of Norway, continued her dominance of the World Cup sprints, beating out three Finish athletes in the final heat. Virpi Kuitunen locked up the silver medal, while teammates Elina Hietamaeki and Alino Kaisa Saarinen, finished third and fourth respectively.
For the American women, Rebecca Dusault was 45th in her first World Cup of the season.
In the men's race, Andrew Newell was the top North American for the second time in two races this week with his 49th place. Torin Koos was 58th, Kris Freeman was 62, David Chamberlain was 65th.
Canada’s Drew Goldsack and Devon Kershaw got a wake-up call while competing in their first-ever World Cup sprint. Goldsack, of Red Deer, Alta., who recently won a gold medal at the Under-23 World Championships in Utah, posted a qualification time of 2:27.87 putting him in 59th place, while Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., who teamed up with Goldsack for a bronze medal in the sprint relay at the Under-23 world Championships last week, crossed the line with a time of 2:29.29, putting him in 67th spot.
Norway grabbed the top-two spots on the men’s podium. Haavard Bjerkeli locked up the gold, while teammate, Tor Arne Hetland settled for the silver medal. Anders Hoegberg, of Sweden, rounded out the top-three.
Complete Results: <Drammen World Cup Sprint
1.Marit Bjoergen, Norway; 2. Virpi Kuitunen, Finland; 3. Elina Hietamaeki, Finland; 4. Alino Kaisa Saarinen, Finland; 5. Hilde Pedersen, Norway; 6. Emelie Ohrstig, Sweden; 7. Gabriella Paruzzi, Italy; 8. Sara Renner, Canmore, Alta., Canada;
10. Beckie Scott, Vermilion, Alta., Canada; 42. Milaine Theriault, St. Quentin, N.B., Canada; 45. Rebecca Dussault, USA
1. Haavard Bjerkeli, Norway; 2. Tor Arne Hetland, Norway; 3. Anders Hoegberg, Sweden; 4. Thobias Fredriksson, Sweden; 5. Joergen Brink, Sweden; 6. Jens Arne Svartedal, Norway; 7. Bjoern Lind, Sweden; 8. Peter Larsson, Sweden;
49. Andrew Newell, USA; 58. Torin Koos, USA; 59. Drew Goldsack, Red Deer, Alta., Canada; 62. Kris Freeman, USA; 65 David Chamberlain, USA; 67. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont., Canada.
Souce: Cross Country Canada