VAL DI FIEMME, Italy – Kris Freeman (USA) raced to a poor result yesterday, consistent with his highly variable season, finishing the day in 55th place, and losing his hopes of a respectable Tour de Ski finish. He vowed, however to finish the event, completing the 9th stage and crossing the finish line on the Alpe de Cermis.
“Yesterday, any sensible person would’ve dropped out, but I wanted to race today. ”
He did just that, and had a much stronger day. Wearing bib 47, he finished the day in 43rd. He told FasterSkier that today’s race was “a lot better than yesterday. I wasn’t skiing great but at least I was racing today.”
He called his result “respectable,” posting the 22nd fastest time on the hill, and 32nd fastest time overall.
When Freeman crested the steepest section of the hill, with half a kilometer to go, he sat in a pack of 5 skiers.
He looked strong and solid, and yet other than several glances to this cohort, he seemed to be skiing alone.
He told FasterSkier, “I couldn’t react to anybody. I got into my rhythm, and that was my rhythm. I was able to sprint for about 50 meters at the end to pass a Belarussian.”
The American will now spend several weeks resting, recovering, and preparing for the Otepaa 15k classical individual start on January 22nd. “I’ve been classic skiing like a bag of crap this year, but it’s still my best event.”
Topher Sabot contributed reporting.