February 18, 2012 (Szklarska Poreba, Poland) – In royal fashion Justyna Kowalczyk delivered the crowning victory her adoring fans were after on Day 2 of the inaugural FIS WCup in her home country of Poland. Signified by poster-size pictures of Kowalczyk wearing a monarch’s crown the xc ski star, dubbed the Queen of Poland, decimated the field with a convincing win in the women’s individual start 10km CL.
“These two days were really emotional for me. The competition today was the most important race of the season,” said Kowalczyk in a FIS XC interview. “Condititions were difficult and I had to choose no wax skis, which I do not like. There is only one long uphill and the downhill section, which was not that good but the conditions were not that fast.
“I slept only three hours today, I was not relaxed at all before the race. Many people of Poland love cross-country skiing. It has been amazing what organizers in Szklarska Poreba did and also the fans were great. I am proud of them.”
The USA’s Kikkan Randall signaled she back nailing her best-ever 10km CL result claiming 8th. At the half way point Randall was 6th remaining steadfast to the end and moved up into 4th overall in the WCup standings ahead of Charlotte Kalla (SWE) who placed 20th today.
“Yes, I’m feeling back to my normal self and had good energy in the race today,” Randall told SkiTrax post-race. “I think yesterday’s sprint effort helped get me back on track after so many days of easy distance training. The skiing conditions were super tricky – we choose to go with Zeros today. I had great kick and glide on the first lap…a little less kick up the big climb on the 2nd lap but overall I think I had great skis today!”
“Today was a career-best individual start classic race for me. This result confirmed that I am back in form after dealing with some illness the last two weeks,” she added.
Canada’s Daria Gaiazova was the lone Canuck racing and finished in the points in 25th. More good news from the US camp came from rookie, Ida Sargent, who placed 26th also in the points earning a career-best non-sprint World Cup effort. Also racing was American Elizabeth Stephen in 38th while Canada’s Alysson Marshall, who earned a WCup berth with her strong NorAm skiing, placed 55th.
Canuck Perianne Jones did not start and according to Head Coach Justin Wadsworth… “Peri woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat, so she’s sick.” It’s unclear why Chandra Crawford and Jessie Diggins were non-starters.