Overall it was a successful day for the US and Canada in Davos. Read the race reports for details onthe results:
The top performance of the day belonged to Kris Freeman, finishing 7th.
“It feels really good. I tried to ski like I did in Kuusamo. I just went out conservatively and was able to really take it in,” Freeman said. “I’d like to be able to take a little more, but I’m pretty happy with my fitness right now and it’s definitely fun to race like this.
“I just need to get a little bit more before the Olympics, but I’ve got time.”
Freeman’s result was his top mark in a World Cup skate race.
“He is clearly in great form,” said USST Sprint Coach Chris Grover. “He is also skiing very smart – starting very controlled and building his pace from lap to lap.
“This strategy takes a lot of confidence. The past two weekends Bird has come through the first split station at me either in the 40s or 50s. But he is picking up speed where most are loosing ground.”
Young American distance skiers Morgan Arritola (34th) and Liz Stephen (40th) both skied well. Both posted personal bests in FIS points and place at a European World Cup.
“It was their best race of the year so far. It was a really good race for them to finish the first World Cup period with,” USST Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said. “It’s been a nice experience and having results that show progress for them is encouraging.”
Added Grover, “I do think they were great results, and even so, I know that neither woman felt at the top of their form today. I feel confident that both will see even better results at an international level this winter.”
Grover attributed the strong performances by the to young women to excellent preparation over the last week and a half, as well as the fact both live and train at altitude. Davos is the highest stop on the World Cup, and the first time Stephen and Arritola contested such an event at this level. The two, along with Freeman and Lars Flora have been in Davos since Kuusamo races two weeks ago.
“They’re definitely improving and this race shows that,” Vordenberg concluded. “I am sure they’re going to have some good races coming up and the plan is to peak at the Olympics, so that’s where we should see our best results from everyone.”
Kikkan Randall did not have a good race, finishing 65th.
“Just an off day,” said Grover” As you know, when you have an off day at this level, you end up on page 4 of the results, no matter who you are.”
Lars Flora finished the race in the mid-60s, but was disqualified for forgetting to get his skis marked.
Devon Kershaw led the Canadian team today, finishing an excellent 9th.
“We had such a good training week last week and Dave Wood did such a fantastic job of guiding us through our problems and getting our team’s focus back mentally on the job we have to do,” said Kershaw.
“We had a strong day today and now we are so excited as a team to keep in touch with Canada’s Olympic Trials that start today back home, and find out who the first person that will be joining us in Vancouver-Whistler. We are very excited for that and wish them all luck.”
With the exception of a strong sprint result by Chandra Crawford last week in Dusseldorf, the Canadians have been struggling – both on and off the trails, but today appears to have been a turning point.
“I worked so incredibly hard for that today. I had to go all out and then some,” said an exhausted Kershaw. “I pushed really hard for it and I needed that really badly.”
“I try not to focus on results, but it has been such a bad start with all kinds of things going on that I didn’t know what to expect,” added Kershaw. “I paid the price today, but that was a great race for me no matter what time of the year it is.”
Ivan Babikov was the next Canadian finisher in 26th, despite battling illness.
George Grey, who posted a solid 28th had the following to say about the day and teammmate Babikov – “A little bit of World Cup redemption for Canada today. Tight race. Ivan is tougher than STEEL.”
Added Kershaw on Twitter, also regarding Babikov, “Seriously, the effort and madness (Ivan raced CRAZY sick) that is that little Bulldog of a Babs is ridiculous…”
Alex Harvey was 34th and Sara Renner 25th.
Contributing Sources: USSA, CCC
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.