The action begins today at the Capitol Square Sprints in Madison, WI. In addition to ice sculpting, a gear expo, open skiing and races for juniors, high school skiers and master skiers, the highlight of the day will be the first of two US SuperTour races this weekend: a 2-person team sprint relay, in skate technique.
Racers from across the country as well as a few Canadian and European skiers will be competing for cash prizes on the 1km manmade snow loop on the streets around the capitol, which was put together last night (see article: http://www.fasterskier.com/racing2947.html ).
While there are fewer racers entered in today's relay than in some SuperTour races, several of the top finishers from the recent US Nationals sprint are in town and promise to make it a fast race indeed. In the men's relay, last year's defending champion from the individual sprint, Zack Simons, will likely join Atomic teammate and recently-crowned National Sprint Champion Chris Cook to make a nearly invincible pair. They won't have it easy however, assuming unnoficial World 100m record holder Kevin Hochtl teams with Anders Haugen, who was the second-fastest qualifier in the Nationals sprint race about a week ago. A handful of other top skiers could have a good day and steal the win from the favorites, especially with the tactics involved with narrow bridges and sharp corners.
Some of the top women who will be racing include the Maine Winter Sports Center's Kate Whitcomb, the lone female on the newly-formed FSX pro team; Karin Camenisch, the Swiss skier who won the overall SuperTour crown last season; Minnesota's Anna McLoon; Erin Hood of the Alaska Pacific University ski program; Ingrid Olsen, Corey Coogan, and several others. Without Kikkan Randall, Wendy Wagner, or Rebecca Dussault, we might see some breakthrough performances from some lesser-known skiers who seize the chance to make it to the Final for the first time.
Local cable news channel NBC 15 is among those covering the event. At the following link you can view a 2-minute excerpt from last night's news broadcast featuring a preview of the event and a look at one of the top local skiers who will be competing: http://nbc15.madison.com/home/headlines/2200857.html
Fasterskier will be bringing you photos and race coverage straight from Capitol Square throughout the weekend. For more information on the schedule of events, visit: www.capitolsquaresprints.org
Zack Simons winning last year's individual sprint in Madison