Rybinsk, Russia – Andy Newell (USA) turned in his best result of the season, finishing 5th in the freestyle sprint in Rybinsk. Torin Koos was 17th in the event won by Renato Pasini (ITA),
Newell qualified 4th, 1.03 seconds behind Russian Anton Gafarov.
“Andy skied as well as he possibly could today,” Head Cross Country Coach Peter Vordenberg said. “He skied the final really well and fifth was it for the day.”
Newell’s career best result in World Cup is a second place finish to end the 2008 season and he has a total seven top-five finishes. Coming off a strong seventh place in Vancouver and a fourth in team sprinting just before Christmas in Dusseldorf, Newell continues to gain momentum approaching Worlds.
“It felt good to make the final. I was due to make it. I’ve run into some bad luck this season,” Newell said. “In the final I went for it and actually pulled into the lead at one point, but then the wheels cam came off a little. For a minute I thought I was going to get the win.”
Newell was climbing well in the individual sprint, then started to lose just enough steam to get passed.
“It was a little bit of a tactical error,” he said. “The sprint is pretty quick, about two and a half minutes. There’s one big old climb in there and a lot of it comes down to that.”
Koos qualified in 18th and finished the day in 17th, also his best result of the season.
Pasini barely squeaked through in qualification, placing 30th, but skied tactically smart in the heats to gain his second career World Cup victory. Alexei Petukhov (RUS) was second and Gafarov third – the first World Cup podiums for both men.
“I was 30th in the qualification – I changed my skis and went straight through into the final,” said Pasini. “For sure I am happy about my victory, I love Rybinsk – I love Russia! I would like to dedicate this victory to our friend Alexei Prokurorov who died in the October in an accident. I met him only a few days before this stupid accident in Ramsau. For the World Championships my focus is for sure on the sprint – I hope to show there a great performance.”
Canadian Dewvon Kershaw was 19th after qualifying 27th and Chris Cook (USA) was 43rd.
The Norweigans and Swedes did not field teams in the event.