Rybinsk, Russia – The Russian men swept the freestyle sprint on home soil behind a strong performance by Nikolay Morilov.
Morilov was followed by Alxei Petukov and Nikita Kriukov.
“I’m happy that the race was tough today,” said Morilov. ” But the track is very familiar for us as we spent a week here in October practicing this very route and are very grateful to the Demino skiing center for the conditions they provided us with.
“It is my first individual victory and that is just amazing. I’m looking forward to the Olympics where I’m will compete in the sprint and team sprint – with Alexei Petukhov.”
Added Petukhov, “I’m happy not only about my second place, but that all the podium is Russian.”
Morilov’s previous best World Cup finish was 3rd place last March in Lahti – also in a freestyle sprint.
Pethukhov reached the podium for the third time this season adding today’s 2nd place to to a 1st and 3rd, all in sprints.
The field was quite small, featuring only 42 athletes. Josef Wenzl (GER) qualified for the Olympic Team with a 6th place finish, and Tim Tscharnke (GER) did the same with his 9th. Tschanke was using the race, in part, as preparation for the U23 Championships.
Canada qualified two athletes for the heats. Sean Crooks crashed in his quarterfinal, and ende the day in 26th. Brent McMurtry was also eliminated in the quarterfinals, and finished 29th. Crooks qualified 22nd and McMurtry 28th.
Phil Widmer just missed the top-30 – he was 32nd with Graham Nishikawa just behind in 34th.
Overall Russia placed four skiers in the top-5 and had 11 in the top-30.
Christian Zorzi (ITA), who anchored the Italian Gold Medal relay team in 2006, finished 4th.
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.