Continental CupRacingSuperTour Finals “Tour de Ski” to Attract Top Racers: Juniors to Race Head to Head With the Best

FasterSkier FasterSkierMarch 5, 20107

Madawaska, ME—With the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games just finished, the top Nordic skiers on the continent have jetted across the Atlantic for the final period of the World Cup. However, they will be back in just three short weeks and most plan to race in the far reaches of northern Maine for the 2010 U.S. SuperTour Finals.

Confirmations have been pouring in for the event, with U.S. headliners Kikkan Randall (8th place 2010 OWG Sprint, 6th place 2010 OWG Team Sprint), Andy Newell, Torin Koos, Kris Freeman, Caitlin Compton (30th place 2010 OWG 10km, 6th place 2010 OWG Team Sprint) and the rest of the U.S. National and 2010 Olympic Teams slated to compete. Additionally, Ivan Babikov (5th place 2010 OWG Pursuit) and Stephan Kuhn (10th place qualifier 2010 OWG Sprint), of the Canadian National Team have confirmed their intention to race at the event. With top U.S., Canadian and Japanese clubs also confirming, the field for the 2010 U.S. SuperTour Finals looks to be the strongest ever assembled outside of World Cup and Olympic competition in North America.

In a departure from previous years’ schedule, this season’s U.S. SuperTour Finals is designed as a mini “Tour-de-Ski” concept. Racers will compete over three days with time bonuses, cash preems, sprint time bonuses and overall classification awards on the line. Each day will be scored as an individual race to both FIS and USSA, but bonus seconds will come into play for the overall classification awards and the final standings.

The 2010 U.S. SuperTour Finals opens on March 26th with a mass start classic race. A $250 cash preem and bonus seconds will be awarded at 1km. Additional time bonuses will be awarded at the top of the climbing portion of the course on each of the following 3.3km loops. The relatively easy course and quick downhill will likely keep the pack together well into the final climb. Can anyone hang with Babikov on the final loops? Will Liz Stephen show the form that brought her to the podium in 2009?

On March 27th, the action continues with a grinding 1.3km classic sprint. Time bonuses for overall classification of a full 60 seconds, coupled with a $250 cash prize for the fastest qualifying times, will insure hard-fought, fast-paced racing. Can the U.S. duo of Newell and Koos hold of hard charging Kuhn? Will anyone challenge Randall for the win?

On March 28th, the series concludes with a freestyle pursuit hill-climb in Fort Kent. Racers will depart the gate according to their overall time from the first two days of racing. A brutal 28%, 43m climb greets them around the first bend. After a rolling couple of kilometers, racers will loop back through the start stadium and face the 130m climb up the town’s Lonesome Pine alpine area. From the top of the climb, a quick kilometer brings the field to the 10th Mountain Center finish stadium. First one to the finish earns the $1500 Tour winner’s purse. A total of $16,000 is on the line for the week of racing.

Come to Aroostook County and race the best!

Race information and registration is online at www.supertourfinals2010.com.

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7 comments

  • Avatar
    crashtestxc

    March 6, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Haha! What a joke! How about using some of that $16,000 to pay out LAST years SuperTour winners?! There’s an idea…

  • Avatar
    Cloxxki

    March 6, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I was thinking the same recently in another context. Serious cash invest in ski testing in Vancouver, but the relatively low prizes in the Supertour being cut shortly before. Can’t an event sponsor step forward and publically make things right?

    With the “crisis”, companies took opportunity to take relatively small amount off the purchase power of their workers. Next years managers get nice bonusses again, but what do the cut, and still loyal, employees get?

    Let’s first see if these 2010 prizes will really be paid. It’s a hard year, after all. Olympics didn’t pan out too well. Bad for sponsors. You get the idea.

    The race setup seems totally awesome though. Racing against the best North Americans.
    In Dutch MTB racing, the Juniors start together with, or shortly behind the Elite men, and just have their own race duration. They get to taste the speed though. The 18-23 riders are always at the line with the Elites, fighting among Olympic medaillists. Learning goes quickly, even if you’re being lapped by them. I can attest to the latter more than the former.
    Important that top elites keep showing up to national races, setting the pace and not treating it like a training.

  • Avatar
    teamepokeedsbyn

    March 6, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Confused. Than why is it called “USSA Super Tour”? What of value does USSA contribute to this series, if not prize money? Does USSA or USSA X-C get a share of the entry fee?

  • Avatar
    Cloxxki

    March 6, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    So, some prizes were not collected due to race eligibility rules, while others, largely dependent on prize money to fund a season, are denied to get it, due to budget problems?

  • Avatar
    cork1

    March 6, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    USSA is the sanctioning body, much like the Major League Baseball is a sanctioning body. I’m sure the Twins could play baseball without Bud Selig, but they wouldn’t be able to win the AL Central without MLB. Chapter One of the Competition Guide, specifically the “Getting Started” section, outlines this. If you hold a USSA licence, you got this in the mail; if not:

    http://www.ussa.org/magnoliaPublic/dms/athletics/comp-services/docs/compguides/Nordic_Comp_Guide/comp_guide_nordic.pdf

    I believe the current cost for hosting an National Ranking List event is $400. An NRL race gets you USSA points. Making the race FIS eligible is an additional $200. This gets racers FIS points. [I could be wrong on these exact figures, but that’s off the top of my head; regardless, about that much.] Both are needed by racers for seeding in larger NRL and FIS events. In a manner of speaking, then, I guess USSA gets a share of the entry fee — organizers generally will charge more for an NRL than regular race to defray these costs. USSA trains officials (which must be present at NRL/FIS events), maintains the NRL, provides guidance, etc.

    Look around here: http://www.ussa.org/magnoliaPublic/ussa/en/formembers/officials/education.html
    Lots of stuff about what role USSA plays, what organizers must do, etc.

    I suppose that this will now spiral into a debate.

  • Avatar
    cork1

    March 6, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    @Cloxkki —

    Organizers don’t pay out prize money to those hoping to maintain their amateurism (i.e., juniors, collegiates). The money which is “saved” remains in the organizer’s budgets. When there was a U23 bonus, having a junior/under-23 racer win a race could save organizers around $1250.

    The season-long prize money was, as far as I’m aware, to come from USSA, completely separate from race organizing committees.

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