MarathonsRacingResultsBottomley and Leccardi Win 2010 Kangaroo Hoppet at Falls Creek

FasterSkier FasterSkierSeptember 3, 2010
The winners of the 2010 Kangeroo Hoppet

On Saturday August 28 the weather gods smiled on the 20th running of the Kangaroo Hoppet, Australia’s international ski marathon. Perfect racing conditions at Falls Creek greeted the thousand plus competitors for a spectacular tour of the Bogong High Plains. At the elite end of the competition it was a couple of Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympians who claimed victory – local Mt Beauty skier Esther Bottomley and her boyfriend Valerio Leccardi from Switzerland.

After nearly one metre of fresh snow at Falls Creek this week the snow groomers did an amazing job to get the 21km course packed and ready for the event. Organisers were worried about the dry snow drifting in across the race track however the wind died off during the night and the main concern turned out to be preventing sunburn from the bright sun. Over 1000 competitors from 23 nationalities entered in the three race distances of 42km, 21km, and 7km.

The women’s field was led out by Anastasiya Kuzmina from Slovakia, who with gold and silver medals in biathlon from Vancouver 2010 was the clear pre-race favourite. After 5km it looked as though Bottomley, Lena Pichard from Switzerland and Aimee Watson from Sydney would be skiing for the minor podium places. However Bottomley bridged the gap and skied with Kuzmina to the end of the fist lap, then broke away and steadily built up her lead on the second lap. At the end Bottomley won in the time of 1:55:49, 1:05 ahead of Kuzmina, with Watson taking third. Fourth went to former US Ski Team member Sarah Konrad and Pichard was fifth.

The men’s 42km event saw the tightest battle amongst the leading competitors seen for many years. Only one minute and 20 seconds separated the top five men, with Leccardi breaking away to win by 28 seconds ahead of second placed Alex Almoukov from Berridale, who in turn pipped his NSW team-mate Ben Sim from Cooma by less than a metre on the finish-line. Both Almoukov and Sim represented Australia at the 2010 Winter Olympics, Almoukov in biathlon and Sim in cross country. Fourth place went to Callum Watson from Sydney, with another Vancouver Olympian Garrott Kuzzy from the USA taking fifth. All five skiers were still together after 30km, before first Sim then Leccardi put the foot down and broke the pack up.

Leccardi is staying in Australia for a month, living in Mt Beauty and training at Falls Creek as part of preparation for the 2010/2011 World Cup season.

The Hoppet is the opening race of the 2010/2011 Worldloppet series of cross country skiing marathons, which are held in 15 nations around the world. The event was supported by AGL Hydro, Australia’s largest private producer of renewable energy, Tourism Victoria and the Keep Winter Cool campaign, the Falls Creek Alpine Resort, and Australian sport clothing brand 2XU.

Mark Raymond from Alexandra and NSW junior Lucy Glanville from Sydney won the 21km Australian Birkebeiner event, while Alasdair Tutt from Wangaratta and Gabriella Cigana from Cooma were first in the 7km Joey Hoppet.

The Kangaroo Hoppet is also the final race in the 2010 FIS Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC), one of eight Continental Cup series around the world endorsed by the International Ski Federation. The winners of the Continental Cup series receive their own quota place for a number of events in the 2010/2011 FIS World Cup series. The 2010 ANC winners were Callum Watson from Sydney and Esther Bottomley from Mt Beauty, both of whom had the series pretty much sewn up before this final event.

2010 Kangaroo Hoppet Race Results

42km Freestyle Kangaroo Hoppet

Men

1            Valerio Leccardi            SUI            1:42:46

2            Alex Almoukov            AUS            1:43:14

3            Ben Sim            AUS            1:43:15

4            Callum Watson            AUS            1:43:36

5            Garrott Kuzzy            USA            1:44:07

6            Chris Darlington            AUS            1:50:10

7            Anthony Evans            AUS            1:52:19

8            Ewan Watson            AUS            1:52:53

9            Ben Derrick            AUS            1:53:43

10            Leon Spiller            AUS            1:54:16

Women

1            Esther Bottomley            AUS            1:55:49

2            Anastasiya Kuzmina            SVK            1:56:55

3            Aimee Watson            AUS            2:01:55

4            Sarah Konrad            USA            2:05:22

5            Lena Pichard            SUI            2:08:03

6            Belinda Phillips            AUS            2:16:08

7            Johanna Eden            SWE            2:17:08

8            Chloe McConville            AUS            2:21:09

9            Kerryn Rim            AUS            2:23:12

10            Irene Dunn            AUS            2:23:28

21km Australian Birkebeiner

Men

1            Mark Raymond            AUS            56:46

2            Paul Gray            AUS            58:25

3            Colby Rook            AUS            58:40

Women

1            Lucy Glanville            AUS            1:03:23

2            Lescinska Grimmer            AUS            1:04:33

3            Georgia Merritt            AUS            1:08:00

7km Joey Hoppet

Men

1            Alasdair Tutt            AUS            18:04

2            Damon Morton            AUS            18:34

3            Hamish Roberts            AUS            18:57

Women

1            Gabriella Cigana            AUS            20:35

2            Casey Wright            AUS            22:20

3            Meredith Harvey            AUS            22:37

Full results available on www.hoppet.com.au

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