Minneapolis, Minnesota – Matt Liebsch and Rebecca Dussault led CXC Team Vertical Limit in a dominating performance this morning as the US SuperTour continued in Minnesota.
Liebsch, winner of last year’s American Birkebeiner, posted a convincing win at the head of a trio of CXC skiers. He completed the 10km freestyle race in a time of 22:23, 38 seconds faster than teammate Brain Gregg. Bryan Cook completed the CXC Team Vertical Limit sweep just 4.2 seconds in back of Gregg. His brother, Chris of Steinbock Racing, was 4th 2 seconds ahead of Sylvan Ellefson (Fischer/SSCV HomeGrown).
The race, held in warm, wet conditions, was also a Midwest Junior Olympic Qualifier and Central Collegiate Ski Association race. An impressive 191 men finished, with collegiate skiers making up the bulk f the top skiers after the lead group. Oskar Lund (MTU) wsa 6th overall and the top collegiate skier.
George Cartwright (NMU), 9th overall, had the distinction of being the first Junior skier.
In the women’s 5km, Rebecca Dussault skied to an impressive win as CXC took the top two spots. Dussault finished exactly 25 seconds ahead of teammate Maria Stuber.
Light rain fell all morning, but shifted to downpour status as racers took to the course at 9:00 AM. According to Stuber, the climbs were extremely soft, but the flats and downs stayed relatively firm and fast.
“Transitions were extra important today because you had to think about terrain changes as well as snow texture changes,” said Stuber.
“The trails held up really well,” added Gregg, “especially considering that there were nearly 500 racers. The course is really fun and is constantly rolling and twisting around. Nicer weather would certainly have improved spectators experience but skiers and ski fans are hearty.”
Aurelia Korthauer (UAF) finished 3rd, 4.7 seconds in back of Stuber, and won the collegiate race. Christina Gillis (NMU), 2.6 seconds back in 4th, was the second collegiate skier.
After Gillis there was a decent gap of 16 seconds, at which point the result sheet remained closely packed, with 5 seconds potentially equaling 5 places.
Racing continues tomorrow with a 10/15km mass start classic.
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.