HAYWARD, Wis. – Marco Cattaneo and Lara Peyrot, both of Italy, skied to victory at the 51k Subaru American Birkebeiner in Hayward today. Cattaneo captured the championship at the 32nd annual cross-country ski race in 2:03:14 and Peyrot claimed victory with a time of 2:15:30.
Two fellow Italians shared the winners’ podium with Cattaneo. Pier Luigi Constantin skied to a second-place finish in 2:04:10 followed by Ivan Margaroli with a third-place time of 2:04:11.
In the women's field, Peyrot was trailed by Cristina Paluselli, Italy, who took second with a time of 2:21:32. Brooke Baughman of Ketchum, Idaho, finished third with a time of 2:22:00.
Lief Zimmerman of Bozeman, MT, was the first American to finish the 51K race with a fourth-place time of 2:04:12.
Through interpreter and team coach Marco Selle, Cattaneo said conditions for today’s race were the best he had experienced in the five years he’s competed in the American Birkebeiner. Cattaneo, who placed 5th in Birkie 2004, said it was very satisfying to arrive on Main Street with no other skiers in sight. For the past few years Cattaneo helped teammate and 3-time Birkie Champ Gianantonio Zanetel capture the title. When Zanetel did not return for Birkie 2005, Cattaneo was able to ski for himself and stand on the winnner’s podium as Birkie 2005 Champion.
Three-time female Champion Lara Peyrot said she had some problems at the beginning of the race because of cold conditions but that she was able to warm up once she reached the wooded area of the trail. She said the track was very good and fast and that she was pleased to be able to hold the title for the third year in a row.
Earlier this morning, under blue skies and —4 degree temps (Farenheit), Sven Wiik, an 84-year old Swede who laid out the Birkie trails more than 30 years ago, sent 6,368 skiers on their way for the 2005 American Birkebeiner before he jumped into a wave to ski the race with participants from 19 foreign nations and 45 U.S states, including Hawaii, New Mexico and Kentucky.
In the 23 kilometer Kortelopet, Ben Fick, Marine On St. Croix, Minnesota, claimed victory in the Kortelopet with a time of 58:33.4; Colin Mahood of Bend, Oregon, finished second in 58:33.8; and Nick Mahood of Woodstock, Vermont, finished third in 59:12.
In the women's division, Maria Stuber of Marquette, Michigan, became the new Kortelopet Champ with a time of 1:05:21; Gretchen Czaja of Woodstock, Vermont, finished second in 1:08:32; and Stephanie Howe of Marquette, Michigan, finished third in 1:08:45.
Executive Director Shirley Riedmann said she was very pleased with the 32nd American Birkebeiner, participation numbers and Governor Doyle's â€œPutting Wisconsin on the Mapâ€ award presented to the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation by Jim Holperin, Wisconsin Department of Tourism. The award honors the Birkie as a ski mecca that brings skiers from around the world to northern Wisconsin.
For race day results, log on to www.birkie.com