Monday’s final event of the Junior World Championships included the women’s 4×3.3-kilometer and men’s 4×5-kilometer relays. Both events alternated classic and skating legs in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
According to a press release, Russia, France and Sweden led through the classic legs, while Norway and Finland sat patiently. On the last leg, Norway’s Eirik Sverdrup Augdal was first to pick up the pace at the end of a long uphill. Alexey Chervotkin, of Russia, and Jean Tiberghien, of France, were surprised and forced to react quickly. Over the final sprint, Augdal found the best line and captured gold for Norway in 53:36.6, exactly 1 second ahead of Tiberghien who outskied Chervotkin by a tenth of a second for second.
In the women’s relay, Russia led the first leg, but Sweden’s Sofia Henriksson did not let the Russian off easily, according to press release. Early in the the skate portion, Sweden was a hair ahead of Russia, while Norway was shortly behind, attempting to make up ground. At the final exchange, Russia’s Natalia Nepryaeva started off with a slight advantage over Jonna Sundling of Sweden, but by the end of the last leg, Sundling had gained enough ground to surpass — and even create a gap on — Nepryaeva, sealing the win for Sweden in 39:54.8. Russia took second, 7.7 seconds behind, and Norway’s Lotta Weng followed in third, 26.8 seconds behind the Swedes.
With four gold, two silver, and eighth bronze medals, Norway was crowned as the winning team at the 2014 FIS Nordic Junior/U23 World Ski Championships.
Among the North Americans, Canada placed just above the U.S. women in 10th (out of 14 teams). The Canadian females chosen to participate in the day’s event included Frédérique Vézina of the Pierre-Harvey National Training Centre (CNEPH), Dahria Beatty (Alberta World Cup Academy), Anne-Marie Comeau (CNEPH), and Katherine Stewart-Jones (Nakkertok). They raced in that order and Team Canada finished 2:49.9 behind the winners.
“I love mass starts so I was pretty pumped when I knew what position I had for the relay,” Vézina wrote in an email. “It was a great fast fight right from the start. My body felt very good and I was able to stay with the lead pack up the first long up hill.”
With slightly slower skis, Vézina explained she struggled on the downhills, but was able to catch back up to the pack on the climbs. “I am very happy with our race and it was as always a lot of fun!” she wrote.
The American women finished about a minute after, 3:51.4 behind the leaders in 12th. Racers included Nichole Bathe (University of Alaska-Fairbanks), University of Vermont’s Marion Woods and Stephanie Kirk, as well as Sloan Storey (University of Utah), respectively.
The Americans men placed 12th out of 18 teams, 3:08.4 behind the winners, with Canada finishing 45 seconds later in 13th. The U.S. men’s team included Adam Martin (Northern Michigan University), Lars Hannah (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club), Thomas O’Harra (Alaska Pacific University), and Patrick Caldwell (Dartmouth College), in that order.
“It was exciting to race today, because we got another chance to race head to head with the best junior athletes,” Martin wrote on Monday. “I was able to hang with the Norwegian skier for both 2.5 k loops. … In general the relay was fun, it was a nice way to conclude the week. … It is very motivational to see some of the other athletes’ strong form and on days like today realize that I can really get in and race them.”
The Canadian men’s team included Ricardo Izquierdo-Bernier (Fondeurs Laurentides), Alexis Dumas (Skibec), Scott James Hill (NDC Thunder Bay), and Benjamin Wilkinson-Zan (NDC Thunder Bay), who crossed the finish line in 13th. The Canadians finished in 57:30.4, 3:53.8 minutes behind the winners.
- 2014 Junior World Championships
- Adam Martin
- Alexey Chervotkin
- Alexis Dumas
- anne-marie comeau
- Benjamin Wilkinson-Zan
- Dahria Beatty
- Eirik Sverdrup Augdal
- frederique vezina
- Jean Tiberghien
- Jonna Sundling
- Katherine Stewart-Jones
- Lars Hannah
- lotta weng
- Marion Woods
- Natalia Nepryaeva
- Nichole Bathe
- Patrick Caldwell
- Scott James Hill
- Sloan Storey
- Sofia Henriksson
- Stephanie Kirk
- Thomas O'Harra
- Val di Fiemme