RacingWorld CupWorld Cup Cross-Country season continues in Lapland

FasterSkier FasterSkierNovember 16, 2006

After a very successful World Cup kick-off in the German metropolis of Düsseldorf, the next Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country event will take place in Scandinavia, Gällivare (SWE) this coming weekend 18th-19th November.

Gällivare – situated about 70km north of the Arctic Circle — will be hosting the Cross-Country World Cup for the third time. “Everything is ready in Gällivare. We received some 35 cm of snow in the night from Saturday to Sunday on top of the man-made snow already on our courses and the forecast calls for more snow for the rest of the week,” said Lars-Gunnar Pettersen, Chief of Competition in Gällivare. “After 1995 and 2004, when we stood in for Östersund, it is an honor for us to host the FIS World Cup again.”

In Gällivare, the competition schedule includes individual start distance races in the free technique on Saturday and relays on Sunday. At least 26 nations will be at start in the “Dundret” ski area, named after the largest mountain (823m) of Gällivare. The field includes 104 men and 87 ladies, among them such local heros as Lina Andersson, Olympic Champion in Team Sprint, Charlotte Kalla, 2005 Junior World Champion in Pursuit, and Marcus Hellner.

The U.S. Ski Team – Olympians Kris Freeman (Andover, NH), Andrew Johnson (Greensboro, VT), Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI), Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA), Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) and Sarah Konrad (Laramie, WY) – have been training for a week in Kiruna, about 100 kilometers further north. “It's been very good training. Like it's always been, it was cold and dark, but there was good snow. Everyone's healthy, so that's number one,” he said.

Konrad, who is also a member of the U.S. biathlon squad, joins the team as the first U.S. athlete to compete in two Olympic winter sports when she raced cross country and also entered a couple of biathlon events last season. A strong skater, biathlon remains her focus, Vordenberg said, “but anytime she can get away, we'll be happy to have her with us.”

The weekend schedule includes short distance races Saturday – men's 15K freestyle and women's 10K – with relays Sunday. The sprint returns during the Nordic Opening weekend Nov. 25-26 in Kuusamo, Finland.

Freeman, Johnson, Randall and Konrad will ski Saturday while the other three men are expected to race the 4x10K relay to give them a “good training workout in race conditions” before Kuusamo, the coach said.

Racing begins each day at 4:30 a.m. ET. For more details, go to http://www.topofeurope.com/worldcup/endefault.asp

Source: FIS & USSA


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