Andrei Tiuterev (RUS) completed a Russian sweep of the Madison Square Capitol Sprints on Sunday in Madison, Wisconsin. Tiuterev bested countryman Dmitry Ozerskiy (RUS), the winner of Saturday’s classic sprint. Midwest native Karl Nygren (CXC) placed third.
Tim Reynolds (CGRP) was the fastest qualifier on the day, narrowly edging out Ozerskiy by 0.1 seconds.
Reynolds would go on to win his quarterfinal but fall in the semifinal, beaten to the line by Samuel Naney (MOD) and Karl Nygren.
Eric Walcott, another CXC team member, qualified third and won his quarterfinal but was found wanting against the Russian duo of Tiuterev and Ozerskiy in the second semifinal, finishing fourth.
Tiuterev, the eventual winner, appeared to pick up speed as the day wore on.
He qualified in 7th position, made it through the quarterfinal with a second place finish behind Ozerskiy, before finding another gear and beating his teammate in both the semifinal and the final.
According to Nygren, the third place finisher, tactics rather than speed prevailed on the narrow course in the final.
“It was very tactical,” Nygren told Fasterskier. “Naney led it out and I sat towards the back. The two Russians went hard around the second to last corner and pushed the pace and moved to the front on the gradual down.”
The Russians closed the door on the final turn into the finish, cutting off any chance for the the chasers.
“They [the Russians] took it on the inside and drifted out to block a pass on the best line,” said Nygren. “I decided to cut way back into the inside lane and was unable to close down the gap. They played it smart and skied well.”
In retrospect Nygren thought there may have been some team tactics, but on a short course with a narrow tracks it may have been as much a function of racing strategy as course profile.
“Looking back it appears they worked together but who knows,” Nygren concluded.
Beyond the racing the setting and crowd at the city sprints always makes this competition a highlight on racing circuit.
“Conditions were excellent and the city sprint atmosphere was amazing,” Nygren said.
Women’s Freestyle Capital Square Sprints
Jennie Bender (CXC) got the better of Rosie Brennan (APU) on Sunday in the Madison Square freestyle sprints, a reversal of Saturday’s classic result.
Bender dominated throughout the day, qualifying in first position in a time of 1:53.0, 0.5 seconds ahead of rival Brennan.
She marched through the quarterfinals and seminfinals, winning both heats on her way to the final.
“City sprints are a nice change, and it is good for the athletes to get used to a different atmosphere of a typical race day,” Bender wrote to FasterSkier in an email. ”
Although the women’s field was small, there were enough top women to make the semis and final heats competitive. I am alway impressed with the wonderful volunteers there, who are super supportive.”
Eventual second placed finisher Brennan followed a similar trajectory to the final, winning both her quarterfinal and semifinal, before the exertions of Saturday’s classic sprint caught up with her.
“Today was challenging because I was unbelievable sore from the double pole derby of yesterday,” Brennan told FasterSkier. “My muscles were not happy to be ski racing today, but it was fun to skate today.”
Brennan eschewed tactics in favor of a more aggressive approach, saying “because of the way I felt, I thought my best chance was to just go for it from the gun and hope everyone else was tired.”
Her path to the final was challenged by third place qualifier Claire Egan (CGRP), whom finished second to her in the semifinal.
Egan would go on to finish fourth in the final.
Third place finisher Caitlin Patterson (CGRP), qualified 4th and delivered a series of gritty performances, finishing second in both her quarterfinal and seminfinal heats, before finding another gear on in the final to better her teammate Egan for a podium spot.
According to Brennan, the final wasn’t tactical, as the absence of a headwind muted the advantages of drafting.
“There wasn’t a head wind on the downhill so drafting wasn’t quite as important,” she said.
Despite a furious pace from the gun, her tempo wasn’t enough to unsettle Bender.
“Unfortunately, Jennie was able to stay with me and did a killer job skating the downhill so she passed me before we went around the final corner and I didn’t have much to answer with,” Brennan said.
Brennan echoed Nygren’s sentiments about the conditions and atmosphere of the Madison Square Sprints.
“The skiing was actually quite nice,” she said. “It was cold all weekend so the snow set up well and was firm throughout all the races.”
— Topher Sabot contributed reporting