Source: Cross Country Canada
Vernon, B.C.-Canada’s Sara Renner and Chris Jeffries won the opening Madshus cross-country skiing sprint event of season in the Hawyood NorAm series at the Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre near Vernon, B.C. on Sunday.
Renner, of Canmore, Alta., who won the women’s pursuit race on Saturday, dashed to the top of the podium for the second straight day at the Haywood NorAm event, claiming the opening of four Madshus sprint events.
Renner, who became the first Canadian to win a medal at the World Championships when she finished third in the sprint last year, handily knocked off the international field who got their final look at the Sovereign Lake track before it hosts the world next month for the World Cup.
Joining Renner on the podium was youngster Chandra Crawford, of Canmore, Alta., who is one of the strongest sprinters developing through the Canadian program. Crawford finished in second spot, while Australia’s Esther Bottomlie took home the bronze medal.
Meanwhile, Chris Jeffries, of Chelsea, Que., made his first trip to the podium of the 2005-06 competitive season. Known more for his distance racing talents, Jeffries held off a strong field to win his first gold medal of the year.
“It was an awesome start to the season,” said Jeffries, who added the first couple of rounds in the head-to-head heats were low key. “I had lots of energy for the final and knew that I would need it to beat Phil
Phil Widmer, of Banff, Alta., finished second, while George Grey, of Rossland, B.C., was third.
The heat quarter-finals consist of six athletes racing simultaneously, with the top-two crossing the line advancing to the next round. This is the first time in Canada the new 30 skier quarter-final sprint format has been used. The semi's feature 5 racers while the A & B finals consist of 4 skiers each.
In just two weeks, Canada’s top cross-country skiers will return to the Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre when it hosts a World Cup, marking the first time in nearly two decades that Canadian cross-country skiers will compete at home in a World Cup.
“We are definitely looking forward to competing here for the World Cup,” said Chris Jeffries. “We spent the last week figuring out where things are going and I think this course will give me, for sure, that little competitive advantage I need to get over my World Cup hump.”
The Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team will return to Alberta later this week where they will officially be introduced to national media, December 2 at 2 p.m. in the main theatre at Canada Olympic Park.
Top-4 Men’s Results: Haywood NorAm – Madshus Sprints
1. Chris Jeffries, Chelsea, Que.; 2. Phil Widmer, Banff, Alta.; 3. George Grey, Rossland, B.C.; 4. Sean Crooks, Thunder Bay, Ont.
Top-4 Women’s Results: Haywood NorAm – Madshus Sprints
1.Sara Renner, Canmore, Alta.; 2. Chandra Crawford, Canmore, Alta.; 3. Esther Bottomlie, Australia; 4. Tara Whitten, Edmonton.