FasterSkier checked in with American sprinter Andy Newell after the first World Cup race of the season. Andy qualified in 14th in the freestyle sprint and was knocked out in the first round of heats, finishing 19th on the day. Last year Andy finished the season 6th overall on the World Cup in sprinting. Given his consistent top ten finishes last year, Andy was a bit disappointed with today’s performance.
FasterSkier: How did you feel about your race today?
Andy Newell: I was disappointed with today’s race. I didn’t qualify particularly fast â€” for me that is usually a sign that things aren't going my way. I felt a lot better during my heat, but made some big tactical errors. (Ed. Andy was often one of the fastest qualifiers last year, winning several qualifiers).
FS: Your heat was the slowest of the quarterfinal heats. This meant that advancing as a â€œLucky Loserâ€ was not really an option for you. Is this something that you think about during the race?
AN: Being a â€œLucky Loserâ€ usually isn't going through my mind during the heat…. I’m just focused on getting across the finish line in the first two positions. I’m not sure why the heat was slower. Pettersen (Norweigan Oeystein Pettersen) was flying in the prelim so I thought he was going to hammer, but he let Northug do a lot of the work. I got in a strong 2nd position behind Northug at the start of the second lap but let myself get pinched out to 4th on the final hairpin. I had good speed in the final stretch but couldn't make it up. It was my own fault. Stupid mistakes.
FS: How was the course?
AN: The course held up well. The snow was wet but not super slow. The leaves stayed on the trees better this year too, so there was less foliage on the track.
FS: The field seemed to be as deep as you can find on the World Cup. How was the competition?
AN: Yes, there was a really deep field today. Some skiers, like defending World Cup Sprint champ, SvartedÃ¡l (Jon Arne SvartedÃ¡l of Norway) didn't even qualify. Besides Lind, there weren't too many all-around sprinters (classic and skate) in the final which is good for guys going for the overall title. It is early yet, but every race counts.
FS: How are you feeling about the Team Sprint tomorrow?
AN: Torin and I are going to give it everything we have tomorrow. There are new rules this year in the Team Sprints (Ed. The â€œLucky Loserâ€ rules will apply to the Team Sprint for the first time), so it’s going to be cool to see how things go. I think it’s going to make for some fast heats. It should be a hammer fest and a lot of fun.
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German Josef Wenzl Wins Men's World Cup Sprint Opener