On home turf with his friends and family cheering him on, Matt Liebsch (Team Strong Heart/Team Birkie) won his second race of the Tour de Twin Cities on Sunday in Wirth Park. Over the 15 k freestyle course, Tad Elliott (SSCV/USST) was 12.9 seconds behind him in second and Sylvan Ellefson (SSCV/Team HomeGrown) finished third (+16.7).
After he finished, Liebsch credited skiing with Elliott for a chuck of the race as having helped him along.
“I felt pretty good,” he said. “It warmed up and started to sprinkle, but the course held up really nice.”
Illness behind him, Liebsch said he finally felt up to full speed on Sunday.
“I think the hard race yesterday kicked it out of my system finally,” he said.
Adding to Liebsch’s good spirits following the 15 k was that his family were able to cheer him on. The weather was too cold on Saturday for his kids to watch him race, but on Sunday the temperature was more favorable.
Elliott, who took Sunday’s 10 k off to recover from his own bout of illness, was happy with second place to Liebsch, who is hosting the Coloradoan until Elliott leaves for Europe on Thursday.
Skiing with Liebsch for part of the race pulled Elliott along, too.
Prior to starting, Elliott said, “I knew how well he’d been skiing, so I wanted to get in behind him and stay with him, and that ended up happening.”
Joining him on the podium, Vail teammate Ellefson said he felt physically good on the rolling course.
“I thought I had a lot of energy on the last lap—I felt like I could put the hammer down,” said Ellefson,
Despite non-existent natural snow, race organizers put together a man-made 3 k loop that the men skied around five times, which athletes said held up well.
“I thought the snow would be more granular, because of the freezing rain, but it ended up being that stubborn man made snow—cold and pretty fine,” said Ellefson, who thought he may have picked the wrong skis based on wrong assumption on how the snow would react to the rain.
Despite the weather, the snow remained in decent condition.
“It’s phenomenal that these races happened, considering they’ve had eleven inches this whole year,” said Ellefson.