Andrew Newell of the US Ski Team did what he had been (non-verbally) threatening to do all winter, and skied faster than all of the World's best sprinters in the prelim of today's final World Cup sprint of the year in Chanchun, China. Despite the long travel distance to China, most if not all of the top World Cup sprinters were there racing the 1.0km freestyle.
Qualification Results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/610.html?sector=CC&raceid=9626
Newell made it through to the A-final to rack up another podium finish this season, finishing third ahead of Bjoern Lind, this year's overall Sprint World Cup winner. Thobias Fredriksson gobbled up another win, holding off surprise second-place finisher Christoph Eigenmann of Switzerland.
Thobias Fredriksson In The Season Opener In Dusseldorf. Photo by Andre Watt
Also making it through to the heats were Canadians Devon Kershaw (10th in qualifying) and George Grey, who squeeked into the last qualifying spot (30th) right in between Fredriksson and his brother Mathias Fredriksson who had to settle for 31st. Grey improved his position to 25th in the quarterfinals, while Kershaw ended up 13th.
Final Results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/610.html?sector=CC&raceid=9628
This being the last World Cup individual race of the 2005-2006 season, the overall sprint standings are now final with the aforementioned Lind topping the points list and winning the glass globe trophy for Sweden. Today's winner Thobias Fredriksson was second with 143 points less than Lind, while early leader Tor Arne Hetland of Norway ended up third. Newell ends the season in an excellent 8th place overall, by far the highest year-end ranking of any US skier since the sprint category was formally added to the World Cup. Canada's Kershaw and USA's Torin Koos also made the top 30 overall, in 25th and 30th respectively.
Overall Sprint World Cup Standings for 2005-2006: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2006/CC/2140/2006CC2140WCSP.pdf