American Tim Burke stole the North American spotlight at World Championships in the 20 k individual on Thursday, but Canada’s Jean Phillippe LeGuellec had a respectable showing of his own about a minute back. The Canuck finished tenth overall to lead his team in Nové Město na Moravě, Czech Republic, with one penalty in the final stage and crossed the line 1:48 behind Martin Fourcade’s (FRA) top mark. LeGuellec was “pretty happy” with the outcome considering his ski form was not what he wanted it to be.
“Unfortunately I didn’t feel all that great on my skis today,” he wrote in an email. “I realized this with the very first climb and alarms went off. My tactic quickly shifted to being able to shoot clean and fast. Crunching down on time in the range would help compensate slightly for the time lost on the tracks.”
LeGuellec posted a first-lap course time that ranked in the 50s, but thanks to shooting clean, and quickly (the third-fastest in the field), he left the range in 24th after the first stage. With only one error in total for the rest of the race LeGuellec saved what could have been a worse result, but he still wondered what could have been had he felt better on his skis.
“Considering the ski shape today, I’m happy with the race I pulled off,” he said. “But also disappointed considering an average ski time in the individual would have helped me climb higher in the top 10. But it’s definitely a good result if I look at the ups and downs of this season.”
Scott Perras finished next for the Canadians in 26th, 3:20 back with two errors. Like LeGuellec he had hoped to feel faster on the track, but reasoned that he did what he could in the 20 k with what he had.
“It’s important to me that I am able to perform at the biggest event of the season and I wasn’t able to do that in the sprint,” Perras said. “I am happy with today but not satisfied if that makes sense, my skiing slipped a little bit for these World Championships and that is a tough thing to accept but once I did I was able to focus on what I could do to get the most out of [it].”
Scott Gow finished 31st for the Canucks in 31st, 3:36 back with one error, and Nathan Smith took 63rd with three errors (+6:41).
On a team level Perras noted that the Canadians had one of their best days ever on Thursday, shooting 91% as a group.
“I am super proud of our team today,” he said. “We pulled ourselves into the top 15 overall ranking and probably had one of our best days as a team at World Championships.”
Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.