CANMORE, ALTA. â€” Tasha Betcherman and Ivan Babikov won the women’s and men’s cross-country skiing Haywood NorAm pursuit races at the Canmore Nordic Center on Thursday morning.
Tasha Betcherman, who has been a model of consistency on the Haywood NorAm series over the last two seasons, won her first race of the year in the women’s 10-kilometer mass start pursuit race after setting the time to beat at 31 minutes 16.6 seconds. Betcherman won a bronze medal in last weekends season-opening distance race at the Sovereign Lake Nordic Center.
The pursuit race combines five kilometers of skate skiing, followed by five more kilometers of classic skiing. Athletes enter a transition area to exchange equipment between the two legs while the clock continues running.
Following the tracks set by Betcherman, under brilliant snow and weather conditions, around the Canmore Nordic Centre was Edmonton’s Madeleine Williams and Montreal’s Dasha Gaiazova, who finished second and third respectively. Williams claimed her second silver medal of the young season with a time of 32:09.6, while Gaiazova stopped the clock at 32:18.1.
Meanwhile, Ivan Babikov, who is racing on the Haywood NorAm series while continuing his efforts to gain Canadian citizenship, added another gold medal to his mantle in the men’s 15-kilometer pursuit race. Babikov, who finished fourth at the 2005 World Cup in Canmore in a men’s 15-kilometer distance race, posted a winning time of 40:13.9.
Babikov continues to race internationally with his Russian FIS license until he gains his Canadian citizenship status, at which time he will be eligible to race for the Canadian team on the World Cup.
Babikov was joined on the podium by two former Canadian national team members, Dan Roycroft and Chris Jeffries. The 29-year-old Roycroft, of Port Sydney, Ont., finished the tight pursuit race with a time of 40:29.4. Jeffries, also 29 and hails from Chelsea, Que., rounded out the podium in third after stopping the clock at 40:39.6. Jeffries retired from skiing on the international circuit this season to take up a coaching career with the Foothills Nordic Ski Club in Calgary.
No Americans raced.
Top-Five Men’s Results:
1.Ivan Babikov, RUS, 40:13.9; 2. Dan Roycroft, Port Sydney, Ont., 40:29.4; 3. Chris Jeffries, Chelsea, Que., 40:39.6; 4. Graham Nishikawa, Whitehorse, Yukon, 40:39.8; 5. Stefan Kuhn, Canmore, Alta., 40:40.1.
Top-Five Women’s Results:
1. Tasha Betcherman, Thunder Bay, Ont., 31:16.6; 2. Madeleine Williams, Edmonton, 32:09.6; 3. Dasha Gaiazova, Montreal, 32:18.1; 4. Shayla Swanson, Calgary, 33:05.4; 5. Brooke Gosling, Calgary, 33:07.1
The Haywood NorAm Series, the nation’s premier development race series, continues at the Canmore Nordic Centre — home to Cross Country Canada and the 2008 Cross Country World Cup — on Saturday with the men’s and women’s Teck Cominco Sprints.
Source: Cross-Country Canada