The weather forecast for Heber City, Utah calls for overnight low of 25 and highs in the forties for Saturday’s classic race at US Nationals. It was great klister conditions with hard packed tracks on Friday and the same is expected for Saturday, however the overnight low is higher, meaning that the firm tracks during the day can change to â€œsugarâ€ when the sun and warm temperatures starts to affect the snow. 10K for women, 15K for men.
Karin Camenisch won the women's 5K classic last year. Will she be able to hold off the American women who are looking for Olympic spots? Rebecca Dussault didn't ski the classic race last year, but she's entered in this one. Wendy Wagner was the top American in the 5K classic last year, and she is always tough in classic events. Those three are the favorites, but there are plenty of challengers who could earn a podium spot, such as Lindsay Williams, Lindsey Weier, Abby Larson, Alison Crocker and sprint champion Kikkan Randall. And what about Rossignol's Russian import? Is she a good classic skier? We'll find out.
On the men's side, all signs point to a two man showdown. Freeman and Babikov. Babikov has won the 10K classic race at the last two US Nationals. But Kris Freeman wasn't there. In the World Cup 30K classic in Canmore, Babikov edged Freeman by 0.5 seconds. Babikov starts two minutes in front of Freeman, so it will be an interesting battle to watch. That's not to say that there aren't plenty of other guys who could pull off the upset. There are probably 15 men who could make the podium in this race. Andrew Johnson, Carl Swenson, Justin Freeman, Dave Chamberlain, James Southam,and John Steene (foreign class) are some of the guys likely to be at or near the top.
It's going to be a fast, fun day of racing. Wax 'em up and lets roll!
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