Umea, SWE-Canada’s Beckie Scott kept pace with the world’s best finishing 11th on a gentle, yet challenging, World Cup track on Saturday in Umea, Sweden. Czech Katerina Neumannova won the women's 10K CL and Gabriella Paruzzi of Italy moved into the World Cup lead by finishing fourth.
Canada’s cross-country ski queen, who forms a one-two Canadian punch in women’s competition with Sara Renner, of Canmore, Alta., crossed the line in the 10-kilometre classic cross-country skiing event with a time of 33 minutes 03.4 seconds, nearly one minute away from the podium in the field of 63 athletes.
“I was really happy with this result, and I had excellent skis today to help me ski a really good race,” said the Vermilion, Alta. native, who adds she’ll need to step it up a level in shape and conditioning to get back on the World Cup podium. “I am satisfied with a top-10 out here on the World Cup, but I am always focused on getting to the podium.”
Sara Renner, who has been steadily improving on the World Cup circuit this year, continued to make tracks up the rankings. Despite a 24th-place finish (33:28.2), the 27-year-old was just 20 seconds back of a top-15 finish.
“The field is so tight out here, and the difference between top-10, 15 and 20 is a matter of seconds. If you want to be on the podium, you have to be on fire all day,” said Renner, who added the Swedish course was gentle in comparison to other World Cup tracks, but no set up at this level can be taken lightly. “I started hard and had a great finish, but I cramped up in the middle section and lost time. It is just a matter of being patient and it will all come together.”
Katerina Neumannova, of the Czech Republic, grabbed the gold in Sweden after posting the time to beat at 31:47.2. Two Norwegian athletes occupied the final two spots on the podium. Hilde Pedersen finished second (32:02.5), while Marit Bjoergen grabbed the bronze medal (32:10.6). Neumannova's winning time for her fourth win of the season was 31:47.2 with Paruzzi moving ahead of Estonian Kristina Smigun by 35 points after finishing fourth while Smigun was 18th.
1.Katerina Neumannova, Czech Republic, 31:47.2; 2. Hilde Pedersen, Norway, 32:02.5; 3. Marit Bjoergen, Norway, 32:10.6; 4. Gabriella Paruzzi, Italy, 32:20.3; 5. Valentina Sheuchenko, Ukraine, 32:21.4; 6. Ekaterina Vorontsova, Russia, 32:31.1; 7. Ainokaisa Saardinen, Finland, 32:34.6; 8. Julija Tchepalova, Russia, 32:42.6; 9. Oxana Jatskaja, Kazakhstan, 32:56.4; 9. Larisa Kurkina, Russia, 32:56.4.
11. Beckie Scott, Vermilion, Alta., 33:03.4
24. Sara Renner, Canmore, Alta., 33:28.2
62. Wendy Wagner, Park City, Utah, 36:21.1
In the men's race, Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) was 26th Saturday in the 15K classic won by defending World Cup champion Mathias Fredriksson of Sweden.
Mathias Fredriksson delighted the hometown crowd, winning the gold medal after blazing through the track in a time of 43:00.8. Lukas Bauer finished about eight seconds ahead of Fredriksson. But the race jury determined Bauer cut into the final straightaway too early after a curve. When he discovered his mistake, he turned back – but not far enough and was disqualified. Fredriksson, who stands second to Germany's Rene Sommerfeldt in the points after 18 races this season defeated Russian Evgenij Dementiev by 7.8 seconds. Freeman, 38th at the 6K mark, steadily moved forward and finished 26th in 44:28.2.
Two Canadian men also suited up in Sweden for a 15-kilometre classic event. George Grey, of Rossland, B.C., and Chris Jeffries, of Chelsea, Que., continued to match skills against the top male cross-country skiers in the world. The 24-year-old Grey was the fastest of the Canadian duo, finishing 61st (47:07.9), while Jeffries, 26, was 64th (47:24.5).
1.Mathias Fredriksson, Sweden, 43:00.8; 2. Eugeni Dementieu, Russia, 43:22.9; 3. Jaak Mae, Estonia, 43:12.5; 4. Frode Estil, Norway, 43:22.9; 5. Andrey Golouko, Kazakhstan, 43:39.9; 6. Andrus Veerpalu, Estonia, 43:43.6; 7. Tobias Angerer, Germany, 43:43.9; 7. Rene Sommerfeldt, Germany, 43:43.9; 9. Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset, Norway, 43:44.5; 10. Axel Teichmann, Germany, 43:48.7
26. Kris Freeman, Andover, N.H., 44:28.2
:61. George Grey, Rossland, B.C., 47:07.9
63. Andrew Johnson, Greensboro, Vt., 47:15.8
64. Chris Jeffries, Chelsea, Que., 47:24.5
68. Justin Freeman, Andover, N.H., 47:29.5
69. Carl Swenson, Park City, Utah, 47:35.4
For complete results and World Cup standings, go to:
Source: USST, CCC