GeneralNewsRacingWorld CupTeam 12: Canada

Avatar Kieran JonesNovember 7, 2010

Canada

Nations Cup Ranking: 12th (1161 pts)

Men: 10th (848 pts)

Women: 13th (313 pts)

2010/2011 A Team

Men

Alex Harvey

Devon Kershaw

George Grey

Ivan Babikov

Women

Chandra Crawford

Dasha Gaiazova

What you may have missed last season:

The sheer amount of injuries and setbacks the Canadian team endured this season, especially at the Tour de Ski.  The World Cup circuit had barely kicked off when former head coach Inge Braten slipped and fractured his hip, then refused to stay home, using crutches to continue in his role. George Grey slipped off a corner at the Tour and crashed into an icy field, aggravating a previous spinal injury and forcing him to abandon. Finally, Devon Kershaw inexplicably lost a ski midway through a great race in the 10 k classic.

Even outside of the Tour, the Canadians were not immune to misfortune – at the World Cup on their home soil, they went down like bowling pins off an Italian bowling ball in a heat during the sprints in Canmore.

What You Should Know For This Season

The Canadian men should be able to build on their impressive Olympics. With all four of the team’s core members returning – and sprinter Stefan Kuhn receiving reinforcements in Phil Widmer and Len Valjas for the first World Cup period – the Canucks’ depth is at an all-time peak.

On the flip side, the women’s team has been significantly reduced, and should struggle as a result. Sara Renner, the second-most decorated Canadian cross-country skier of all time, retired after a stellar career. Similarly, Madeleine Williams opted to exit the sport after competing at the Olympics. Those departures leave a gaping hole, especially on the distance side, which will be impossible for the team’s sprint-oriented women to fill.

However, reports on Chandra Crawford have her back firing on all cylinders, and a return to her previous form would reduce the impact of Renner’s retirement, at least in terms of World Cup points.

And, after four years of upheaval, in which the team hired a new head coach each season, the Canadians poached American Justin Wadsworth to run their program, ushering in a new era of cooperation between the two North American ski countries.

Who You Should Watch

While FasterSkier would love to take the easy way out and pick the men’s 4×10 k relay at World Championships, that would be cheating. Instead, look for the up-and-coming Brent McMurtry to make a jump to the big time. McMurtry earned the Continental Cup spot for the pre-Christmas World Cup period, so despite the glut of talented Canadian males filling their World Cup quota most race weekends, he will still get starts and experience.  McMurtry’s 24, he can skate, classic, sprint, and distance ski, and with the quality of the top Canadian men right now, he has all the motivation he needs to keep getting faster.

Some of the Canadian coaching staff taking up a new sport at the recent CNST camp in Park City, Utah

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Kieran Jones

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