Whistler, British Columbia – Eligius Tambornino (SUI) and Claudia Nystad won the first Whistler Olympic Park Loppet. The two led a star studded field in the 30km freestyle event.
Tambornino, who has 11 World Cup starts under his belt, all in sprint disciplines, edged out three Swiss teammates and US Nordic Combined star Billy Demong in a tight sprint to the finish. All five men finished within half a second. Curdin Perl was 2nd, Demong 3rd, Valerio Leccardi 4th, and Remo Fischer 5th.
Tambornino was 21st in the sprint at the World Championships this year and has a career-best World Cup result of 14th. Perl, Leccardi and Fischer all have extensive World Cup experience as well. The Swiss team was in Whistler in preparation for next year’s Olympics.
“I think it went really well, partly (because) the weather was phenomenal,” said volunteer Chief of Competition John Heilig. “The feedback we’ve gotten is the course was very enjoyable and well-marked, and the food was very good.”
Times were fast with the lead pack clocking in at 1:08:20.
The women’s race was nowhere near as close with World Cup veteran Nystad cruising to a 3:41.5 victory over Leslie Hall. Barbara Turner was 3rd, +5:02, and Callaghan Valley Training Center Coach Amy Caldwell took 4th.
Overall 175 skiers participated in the day’s events, which also included a 10km race.
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