Two North Americans posted impressive results at nordic events in Germany and Norway over the last week, with Vermont native Tara Geraghty-Moats racing to first overall in the first-ever Women’s Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix and Quebec’s Alex Harvey placing second, fifth and 10th in three races at the Toppidrettsveka rollerski series.
Geraghty-Moats 1st and 2nd at Inaugural Women’s NoCo Grand Prix
Brand new to nordic combined as well as the jump hill in Oberwiesenthal, Germany, Geraghty-Moats took the inaugural women’s Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix by storm this past weekend, placing first and second in two competitions. That tied her for first place in the overall Grand Prix standings, alongside Russia’s Stefaniya Nadymova — the defending champion of last winter’s inaugural women’s Nordic Combined Continental Cup.
On Sunday, Geraghty-Moats, 25, of USA Nordic and the New York Ski Education Foundation (NYSEF), handily beat Nadymova and the rest of the 10-woman field after starting the 5-kilometer Gundersen rollerski race in second, four seconds behind Germany’s Jenny Nowak. While Nowak had posted the best jump of 96 meters on Oberwiesenthal’s 106-meter “normal” hill, Geraghty-Moats tied for the second-best-scoring jump (94.5 meters), with Austria’s Lisa Hirner (95 meters). From there, Geraghty-Moats dropped Hirner, Nadymova and Nowak on the first of three laps in the rollerski race and went on to finish in 11:04.8. Nowak ultimately placed third, 1:29.2 behind Geraghty-Moats.
“I was really satisfied by how my first weekend of being a nordic combined-er went, and I think the patience of waiting to be a nordic combined-er really paid off,” Geraghty-Moats told the International Ski Federation (FIS) after. “I struggled with the jump a little bit the first couple days. I had never jumped this hill before, and I sort of figured it out today so I got to ski a little bit easier than yesterday, but I was also happy that yesterday I was able to have a good fight and ski fast to my potential and end up on the podium.”
On Saturday, the American (who started as a ski jumper, then raced cross-country before taking up biathlon, and finally returned to jumping) placed second to Nadymova, who won the individual 5 k Gundersen in 12:21.4. Geraghty-Moats finished just 3 seconds back after starting the race in fourth, 1:13 minutes behind Nadymova in first. Nowak placed third in that race as well, 50.3 seconds back.
“It was a dream come true to finally be able to compete in women’s Nordic Combined on an international level,” Geraghty-Moats told FIS on Saturday. “I’m using this weekend to learn the level I have to be at to have success in Nordic Combined. I made some mistakes today and learned a lot but I came away with a good result and having had a huge amount of fun competing with small but strong field.”
Eleven women competed in Saturday’s normal hill/5 k.
Harvey on Toppidrettsveka Podium
At the Toppidrettsveka rollerski festival in Norway, Canada’s Alex Harvey raced to second in the 15 k skiathlon last Thursday in Orkdal, missing out on first by just 0.6 seconds to Switzerland’s Roman Furger, who won in 30:43.3. Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krüger, the reigning Olympic skiathlon champion, finished third, 1.5 seconds back. In a stacked international field of 125 men, Canada’s Evan Palmer-Charrette placed 75th in that race (+2:14.4), Bob Thompson was 84th (+2:32.7), and Scott Hill 89th (+2:52.5).
Heidi Weng beat her cousin Tiril Udnes Weng by 0.7 seconds in the women’s 10 k skiathlon that day, finishing in 22:52.1. Norway swept the top five of the women’s race, with Anne Kjersti Kalvå reaching the podium in third (+1.3), and national-team members Kathrine Harsem and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen placing fourth (+1.4) and fifth (+1.5), respectively, out of 43 women.
In the men’s 24 k classic mass start around Aure/Brekka on Friday, Harvey finished fifth, 19 seconds after Krüger, who won in 59:57.5. Norway’s Hans Christer Holund placed second in that race (+2.6), Norway’s Magnus Stensås was third (+13.0), and Switzerland’s Dario Cologna fourth (+17.1). Also for Canada, Palmer-Charrette finished 61sth (+2:30.9), Hill 78th (+4:02.3), Thompson 86th (+5:40.3), and Maks Zechel 88th (+7:01.4) out of 125.
Heidi Weng repeated in first in the women’s 24 k mass start, finishing in 1:10:02.4 hours, while Tiril Udnes Weng again placed second, 25.4 seconds back, and Jacobsen reached the podium in third (+27.7).
Later on Friday in Aure, Norway’s Sondre Turvoll Fossli topped the men’s freestyle sprint final ahead of four other Norwegians, including Pål Trøan Aune in second and Jan Thomas Jenssen in third, and Switzerland’s Furger in fifth, while Harvey did not qualify for the heats and ended up 37th overall. Palmer-Charrette was once again 61st in qualification, Hill 107th and Thompson 109th out of 121.
In the women’s sprint, Norway’s Mathilde Myhrvold won the final in 2:56.54, 1.05 seconds ahead of Slovenia’s Katja Visnar in second. Heidi Weng placed third in the final (+1.97), ahead of Tiril Weng (+2.64) in fourth, another Norwegian Anna Svendsen in fifth (+2.76), and another Slovenian Alenka Cebasek in sixth (+3.73).
In the final race of the series, the classic pursuit on Saturday, Harvey started second, 10 seconds behind Furger in first. The Canadian went on to place 10th, 4.2 seconds out of first, in the 15 k race, while Stensås took the win in 37:45.5 after starting seventh. (Furger slipped to 55th and 1:55.5 behind at the finish.) Norway’s Mikael Gunnulfsen rose from eighth to second (+0.7) and France’s Jean-Marc Gaillard made it all the way up to third (+1.7) after starting 15th.
Palmer-Charrette finished the pursuit in 59th (+2:04.2), Thompson placed 80th (+2:55.2), Hill 87th (+3:41.5), and Zechel 93rd (+3:48.9) out of 105.
Jacobsen ended the weekend as the women’s 12 k mass start winner, after the entire women’s field (of 33) started at the same time. She crossed the line first in 34:20.8, 0.4 seconds ahead of Heidi Weng in second and 1.2 seconds ahead of Kalvaa in third.