Not A Great Start For North Americans

FasterSkierNovember 20, 2004

Freeman 27th in Near-zero Cold

GALLIVARE, Sweden (Nov. 20) – Battling near-zero cold, the cross country World Cup schedule resumed Saturday with Axel Teichmann of Germany and Norway's Marit Bjoergen winning classic technique races. Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) had the top U.S. result, finishing 27th.

The season began Oct. 23-24 with sprints in Dusseldorf, Germany, and Gallivare was a late substitution for snowless Oestersund. The temperature was -16 C. (-4 F.) at the start of the racing on a 5K loop.

Bjoergen made it two straight victories this season with a winning time of 28:13.4 in the 10K classic, edging Kristina Smigun of Estonia by 1.1 seconds. Sara Renner was the top North American, finishing 33rd. Wendy Wagner (Park City, UT), the lone U.S. racer, was 64th.

Teichmann won in 37:40.7, more than a half-minute ahead of teammate Rene Sommerfeldt. Freeman was timed in 39:21.0. George Grey, the only Canadian man in the race, finished 63rd, with Andrew Johnson (Greensboro, VT) the next American, finishing 83rd in the field of 96.

Though clearly disappointed, the US Team kept a positive outlook on the coming season.

“It's not the result we were hoping for,” U.S. Head Coach Trond Nystad said, “but you take the good with the bad, bad with the good, and now we have to keep after it. We're racing again and everyone's healthy. If Kris had been 10 seconds faster, he could have been top 20…but that didn't happen. This was where he started last season [28th in a 15K freestyle in Beitostolen, Norway], and Kris will pick it up.

“It was plenty cold but we had good skis, good wax, just not a good result…but we know the talent is there and we'll ski faster.”

The weekend concludes Sunday with relays before the team heads to Kuusamo, Finland.

Gallivare, SWE
Nov. 20, 2004
Men's 15K Classic
1. Axel Teichmann, Germany, 37:40.7
2. Rene sommerfeldt, Germany, 38:17.5
3. Vassili Rotchev, Russia, 38:18.0
27. Kris Freeman, Andover, N.H., 39:21.0
63. George Grey CAN, 40:18.0
83. Andrew Johnson, Greensboro, Vt., 41:19.0
88. Carl Swenson, Park City, Utah, 41:57.9
90. Justin Freeman, Andover, N.H., 42:09.9
Women's 10K Classic
1. Marit Bjoergen, Norway, 28:13.4
2. Kristina Smigun, Estonia, 28:14.5
3. Virpi Kuitunen, Finland, 28:22.3
33. Sara Renner CAN, 30:18.4
64. Wendy Wagner, Park City, Utah, 31:19.3

For complete results:

Source: USSA & FIS



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