Pragelato, ITA-Canada’s Beckie Scott added a sliver lining to her season on Friday, finishing second in a cross-country ski sprint competition at the World Cup Finals in Pragelato, Italy, the race site for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games.
Her bestÂ performance of the seasonÂ was alsoÂ the first podium result of the year for Scott, and it bumped her into sixth-place in the overall World Cup sprint standings for the 2003-04 campaign, the highest she has ever finished in her career.
Joining Bjoergen and Scott on the podium was Elina Hietamaeki-Pienimaeki, of Finland, who won the dash for third over Claudia Kuenzel, of Germany. Canada’s Sara Renner, of Canmore, Alta., and Milaine Theriault, of St. Quentin, N.B., both failed to qualify for the finals, finishing 21st and 39th respectively.
World Cup rookie Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) and Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) got their first look at the 2006 Olympic sprint course Friday and turned-in top-20 results as snow moved in on the region. US skiers finally advanced from the qualification round with a great performance from Andy Newell. Newell, who was 25th in Trondheim two weeks ago, was eliminated in the quarterfinals to finish 16th. Torin Koos , in 18th place, missed the 16th qualification spot by less than .5 seconds.
The men raced on a 1.35K loop and Italian Fredy Schwienbacher gave the couple of thousand fans gathered in a driving snowstorm for finals plenty to cheer about as he edged Jens Arne Svartedal of Norway in the men's final.
“It was pretty good manmade snow for the prelim,” Newell said, “and as soon as the prelim was over, the weather really moved in. They're calling for up to 40 centimeters [16 inches] by tomorrow.”
Newell, the SuperTour sprint champion, was the fourth man in his heat as it headed into a tough uphill. The leader broke away, he said, and the Stratton Mountain School graduate played catch-up from there to the finish. “When you're the fourth guy, you're at a loss when the lead guy takes off. I had to work hard to get back … we came in to the finish together.”
Koos, who graduated a year ago from the University of Utah, was 21st in the sprint around the Royal Palace in Stockholm Feb. 18, said, “I needed a good result to finish the season. These are the pre-Olympic races so I'm fired-up for two years down the road. It's wide open and has good terrain…a couple of steep hills but nothing super hard.”
The Canadian men were also in action on Friday continuing their climb up the World Cup standings. The four-man Canadian contingent, who are pleasantly enjoying a successful rookie season at the elite level, have made steady improvements in each race this season. Drew Goldsack, of Red Deer, Alta., led the Canadian charge. The 22-year-old posted his best sprint result of the year finishing 35th. Devon Kershaw, 21, of Sudbury, Ont., was 44th, while 24-year-old George Grey, of Rossland, B.C. was 47th, and 26-year-old Chris Jeffries, of Chelsea, Que., was 60th.
Freddy Schwienbacher grabbed the gold medal in front of his hometown crowd. The Italian beat out two Norwegian athletes to the line as teammates Jens Arne Svartedal and Boerre Naess rounded out the top-three.
The World Cup Finals continue in Italy with the distance events this weekend. The women’s team will compete in a 15-kilometre competition on Saturday, while the men will hit the line for a 30-kilometre race Sunday. Following the World Cup Finals, the entire Canadian team, including Beckie Scott, will head home for the Canadian Championships in Charlo, N.B., March 15-21, 2004.
Complete Results: Full World Cup Results
Women’s final results:
1 BJOERGEN Marit NOR
2 SCOTT Beckie CAN
3 HIETAMAEKI-PIENIMAEKI Elina FIN
4 KUENZEL Claudia GER
5 PARUZZI Gabriella ITA
6 SAARINEN Aino Kaisa FIN
7 MANNINEN Pirjo FIN
8 KELDER Christina ITA
9 KLAUS Isabel GER
10 MORODER Karin ITA
11 SARASOJA Riikka FIN
12 PEDERSEN Hilde G. NOR
13 PERAELAE Kirsi FIN
14 NEUMANNOVA Katerina CZE
15 NARUM Ingrid NOR
16 NATSUMI Madoka JPN
Men’s final results:
1 SCHWIENBACHER Freddy ITA
2 SVARTEDAL Jens Arne NOR
3 NAESS Boerre NOR
4 LIND Bjoern SWE
5 DEBERTOLIS Bruno ITA
6 IVERSEN Trond NOR
7 ROTCHEV Vassili RUS
8 PANKRATOV Nikolai RUS
9 FRASNELLI Loris ITA
10 BJERKELI Haavard NOR
11 HOEGBERG Anders SWE
12 HOFMANN Egon ITA
13 FREDRIKSSON Thobias SWE
14 ALYPOV Ivan RUS
15 NEWELL Andrew USA
16 PASINI Renato ITA
Results from qualification round:
1 Frasnelli Loris ITA 2:24.56
2 Svartedal Jens Arne NOR 2:24.66
3 Schwienbacher Freddy ITA 2:25.02
4 Bjerkeli Haavard NOR 2:25.58
5 Fredriksson Thobias SWE 2:25.61
6 Hoegberg Anders SWE 2:25.75
6 Debertolis Bruno ITA 2:25.75
8 Iversen Trond NOR 2:25.79
9 Naess Boerre NOR 2:25.84
10 Hofmann Egon ITA 2:25.85
11 Pankratov Nikolai RUS 2:25.97
12 Lind Bjoern SWE 2:26.07
13 Rotchev Vassili RUS 2:26.39
14 Alypov Ivan RUS 2:26.59
15 Newell Andrew USA 2:26.68
16 Pasini Renato ITA 2:26.93
17 Elden Trond Einar NOR 2:27.15
18 Koos Torin USA 2:27.25
19 Jallai Erki EST 2:27.30
20 Hetland Tor Arne NOR 2:27.60
35. Drew Goldsack, Red Deer, Alta.
44. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont.
47. George Grey, Rossland, B.C.
60. Chris Jeffries, Chelseau, Que.
1 KELDER Christina ITA 1:59.01
2 BJOERGEN Marit NOR 1:59.61
3 MANNINEN Pirjo FIN 2:00.33
4 PARUZZI Gabriella ITA 2:00.36
5 KUENZEL Claudia GER 2:00.41
6 SCOTT Beckie CAN 2:00.46
7 SAARINEN Aino Kaisa FIN 2:00.85
8 PERAELAE Kirsi FIN 2:00.90
9 HIETAMAEKI-PIENIMAEKI Elina FIN 2:00.99
10 NEUMANNOVA Katerina CZE 2:01.07
11 KLAUS Isabel GER 2:01.20
12 NARUM Ingrid NOR 2:01.31
13 MORODER Karin ITA 2:01.55
14 NATSUMI Madoka JPN 2:01.77
15 SARASOJA Riikka FIN 2:01.83
16 PEDERSEN Hilde G. NOR 2:02.07
17 FOLLIS Arianna ITA 2:02.36
18 KUITUNEN Virpi FIN 2:02.37
19 SACHENBACHER Evi GER 2:02.42
20 BOEHLER Stefanie GER 2:02.63
21 RENNER Sara CAN 2:02.95
22 GENUIN Magda ITA 2:03.08
23 RESCHWAMM SCHULZE Anke GER 2:03.10
24 DAHLBERG Anna SWE 2:03.15
25 SKOFTERUD Vibeke W NOR 2:03.48
26 STORTI Aurelie FRA 2:03.77
27 OHRSTIG Emelie SWE 2:03.87
28 KOWALCZYK Justyna POL 2:04.19
29 VALBUSA Sabina ITA 2:04.45
30 VENAELAEINEN-SUNDQVIST Kati FIN 2:04.54
31 SAVIALOVA Olga RUS 2:04.56
32 FEICHTNER Barbara AUT 2:04.59
33 VINA Emilie FRA 2:04.60
34 BOURGEOIS PIN Elodie FRA 2:04.94
35 DUSSAULT Rebecca USA 2:05.98
39. Milaine Theriault, St. Quentin, N.B.
Sources: CCC, USSA, Langrenn.com