Valentina Schevchenko of Ukraine won the women’s 10km freestyle individual start. Evgenia Medvedeva was second with Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) third. Schevchecnko, an excellent skater who won the Tour de Ski Final Climb by over a minute, clearly took to the hilly 5km loop in Canmore. This was her second victory of the season, following the Tour de Ski stage win. After the race, the 32 year old raved about her skis and noted the challenging climbs – “This track was not easy for me, there are so many uphills. But my skis were very good and the race went well.”
Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) – third podium finish of the week
Medvedeva enjoyed the conditions and the event as a whole. “First of all I would like to thank the organizers. Everything was prepared very well. The track here is best for me because I prefer uphills. I didn’t find the tracks slow like some of the other skiers. If you compare the natural snow on the track today to artificial snow, it is faster, but there were good conditions today and the snow was quick enough. We don’t have many opportunities to ski in natural snow. We have more pleasure to ski in natural snow, rather then artificial. In my mind, everything was very good today.”
Sara Renner of Canmore scored World Cup points for the third consecutive race, finishing 25th, just under 2 minutes behind the winner. Fellow Canadian Madeleine Williams had an excellent race taking 32nd amere .3 seconds out of scoring World Cup points.
â€œIt was dog-eat-dog out there today and definitely a grind,â€ said Renner, who added the cold Rocky Mountain conditions contributed to dry, slow snow for the women’s race. â€œIt’s slowly coming. I’m starting to adapt to the pain and starting to feel like a World Cup athlete again. I have come a long way considering I was 40 pounds heavier, and couldn’t even ski the World Cup trail at this time last year.â€ Renner is coming back from a year off to have her first child.
The top US finisher was Kate Arduser in 39th, +3:39. She was closely followed by Evelyn Dong in 40th. Tazlina Mannix, 44th and Lindsey Dehlin, 46th were the other American finishers. Lindsay Williams did not finish.
Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) – 11th place
Places 5-8 were separated by only 1.1 seconds.
More photographs and race coverage can be found on the FasterSkier World Cup Blog.