Andy Newell showed he is in good form, winning the “October Sprint” race in Mora, Sweden. US Ski Team teammate Torin Koos finished a strong fourth in the classical event. Jackson Hole, WY junior Willie Neal also turned in an impressive performance, finishing 28th in the Junior men's category.
According to Koos, the course was “surprisingly good,” with snow depth more than sufficient and the trail plenty wide. The race organizers brought all their Vassaloppet experience to bear, allowing the competition to “be a real race, not some poorly organized show sprint in October.” The top Swedish sprinters were unable to make it, but there was still strong competition with several World Cup racers present.
Newell was excited to be racing again, telling FasterSkier.com –
“It felt great to get back out there. You can do all the training you want in the off season but nothing compares to the thrills…. and pain of actually doing a real race. We hadn't done any really hard intervals in about a week because of the travel over to Sweden, so hammering all out can be hard on the body. I did the 'boot and rally' so to speak after the prelim.”
Newell and Koos will kick off the World Cup season next week in Dusseldorf on October 27 with a freestyle sprint.
Said Newell, “I think it's going to he helpful to have one race under the belt going in to Dusseldorf. Starting off the year with a win is exciting too…. it helps set a good tone for the season. All we need to do now is repeat this on the World Cup.”
Koos was also happy to be getting after it again –
“In the quarterfinal I began to feel like a real ski racer. In the semifinal I could fly up the hills. It's a pretty great feeling to be able to ski a section of a course really well, open up fifteen meters on the field and not know it, nor expect it, until you look back and know you can cruise the rest of the race in and move onto the next round.”
Torin faded a little in the final telling FasterSkier.com, “I was having trouble with my muscles before the finals and couldn't hang onto Andy and the Swede at the end. So, am I pleased with today? It was a good, solid opening race for me. Definitely something to build on.”
Jackson Hole Ski Club's Willie Neal, in Sweden with Burke Mountain Academy, had an impressive result, finishing 28th in the 51 person 17-20 Men's field. Jane McClelland was the top US Junior woman, in 38th.
Full Results can be viewed here. Results are organized by class and gender. “H” represents men, and “D” represents women.
Contributing Sources: Skidsport.com, Svenskidrott.se
Course preparation earlier in the week (Photo Credit: IFK Mora SK)