In her first World Cup of the season and best result since the 2012 World Cup freestyle sprint at home in Canmore, Alberta, Alysson Marshall launched back into international-racing action on Saturday and placed 44th in the women’s 1.2-kilometer classic sprint in Otepää, Estonia.
The NorAm, or Continental Cup, leader for Period 1, she was one of two Canadian women selected to this weekend’s Otepää World Cup. The other, Perianne Jones, opted to stay home and race at Western Canadian Championships in Lake Louise, Alberta.
“It’s great to be back on the World Cup!” Marshall, 26, wrote in an email on Saturday after finishing 44th in the qualifier, 15.67 seconds back from the qualifier winner, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg of Norway, and 6.42 seconds out of the top 30 needed to advance to the heats.
Marshall, a national development-team member, most recently placed fifth in a classic sprint at last weekend’s NorAm in Duntroon, Ontario. Last Saturday after the sprint, Alberta World Cup Academy teammates Marshall, Jess Cockney and the men’s NorAm leader Patrick Stewart-Jones flew to Estonia for a Sunday arrival.
“I’m just starting to feel like I have adjusted to the time change,” Marshall explained. “I am definitely disappointed with today, I started well but body wasn’t 100% and I couldn’t maintain the pace over the top of the course. Hopefully next weekend will go better!”
Without another Canadian woman on the circuit, she won’t be racing Sunday’s freestyle team sprint. Marshall plans to next race the freestyle sprint on Saturday, Jan. 24 in Rybinsk, Russia.
Canadian World Cup Team member Lenny Valjas finished 45th in the men’s 1.5 k classic sprint on Saturday, 12.1 seconds back from the top qualifying time set by Norway’s Pål Golberg, and 3.83 seconds out of the top 30.
Cockney, of the national development B-team, placed 61st in the qualifier after winning the NorAm classic sprint in Duntroon last week. Back in 2011 in Otepää, Cockney placed 61st in a classic sprint as well.
Stewart-Jones, who was second in the Duntroon sprint, finished 62nd on Saturday in his first international World Cup, and first World Cup since 2012 in Canmore.
According to Sunday’s start list, Cockney and Valjas will team up in the 6 x 1.5 k freestyle team sprint.
Alex Harvey, Devon Kershaw, Ivan Babikov, and Graeme Killick are taking the weekend off to recover and train in Seefeld, Austria, before traveling to Rybinsk on Wednesday.
Alex Kochon (email@example.com) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.