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.