Praz de Lys, France – Liz Stephen and Morgan Arritola continued to impress at the U23 Championships, finishing 4th and 5th respectively. Sylwia Jaskowiec (POL) won the 15km pursuit event pulling away from Astrid Oeyre Slind (NOR) in the last 100 meters.
“The course is fantastic, the weather is good and we had a big support from the spectators, that was great” said Jaskowiec. “Today was my day. I feel good, in good shape with a lot of power even in the big uphills.”
Jaskowiec also won the 10km freestyle event on Thursday.
Slind and Jaskowiec pulled away in the freestyle portion of the race, opening up one minute gap on the rest of the field, before battling in the home stretch. Mate Elden (NOR) gave the Norweigans two on the podium, claiming third, 2.1 seconds ahead of Stephen.
Said Slind, “I had a very good start and an easy race in classical technique because the tempo was not fast. I tried to push hard during the skating part and had a hard fight with Jaskowiec but she was better than me in the last 100 meters. But I’m satisfied with this silver medal and with these Championships.”
Stephen and Arritola also finished in consecutive places in the 10km freestyle – 7th and 8th, but bettered that on Saturday. Stephen started slowly in the classic portion, sitting in 14th at the transision, a not insignificant 20+ seconds back on the lead pack. Arritola was just off the front, in 8th position.
Stephen began moving up after the switch to freestyle, ultimately turning in the 3rd fastest skate leg, behind only Jaskowiec and Slind, and moved within striking position of the podium. Stephen and Arritola worked together to reel in Elden, but the Norweigan was able to hold off the hard charging Americans at the line.
Arritola continued her strong, consistent race, with the fourth fastest skate leg. She sprinted in with Stephen and finished just .8 seconds behind her teammate.
“The race was not very fast in the classical part so that was quiet easy to stay in the lead,” said Elden. “After the exchange, that was more difficult and I didn’t succeed in following the two leaders. I was alone in the 3rd place nearly the whole skate part but the 2 Americans caught me in the last uphill. I finally succeed to stay in 3th position in the last 100 meters and that’s very satisfying.”
Alexa Turzian finished 28th for the US, +3:32.
Canada was led by Brittany Webster in 14th. Webster was in the lead back at the transition, but fell back over the last 7.5 km. Teammates Alysson Marshall and Amanda Ammar were 26th and 33rd respectively.