February 17, 2013 (Gatineau, QC) – The new 55km and 38km linear courses starting at Lac Philippe were inaugurated under outstanding conditions, to the great delight of all of the skiers, 1,000 of whom turned out on Saturday for the four different classic style races. Once again, athletes from Chelsea, Quebec, lit up the podiums.
The greatest challenge, bar none, faced by the organizers was the logistics involved in the new linear courses starting from Lac Philippe. This first round was unanimously hailed a success. According to the many skiers in the 55 and 38 km classic style races, the volunteers in the field did phenomenal work all along this “enchanting” course.
55 and 38 km classic style
The first two classic style races to hit the trails of Gatineau Park on Saturday were the 55 and 38km starting at Lac Philippe. It was a radiant sun that shone on Nathan Underwood (Chelsea, CAN), the very first skier in the Gatineau Loppet 2013 to cross the finish line for the 38 km, just ahead of Oleg Terentiev (Russia). Robert Underwood (Kandalaksha Bay, USA) finished in third place. Among the women, the winner was Michelle Workun-Hill (Chelsea, CAN), who finished more than 18 minutes ahead of her closest rival, Christiane Clavel (Terrebonne, CAN). Sonia Magny (Trois-Rivières, CAN) took third place, 4 minutes later.
It was a heated contest in the 55 km classic, with several well-known athletes. In the end, Benoit Chauvet (Aviernoz, FR), winner of last week´s Transjurassienne (France), took the honours. Stefan Lloyd (Chelsea, CAN) and Karl Saidla (Chelsea, CAN) took second and third place. Among the women, Megan McTavish (Chelsea, CAN) came in first, followed by a familiar face at the Gatineau Loppet and on the podium, Sheila Kealey (Ottawa, CAN) in second place, and Martina Stursova (CZE) in third.
20 and 5 km Metro News style classic
The 20 and 5 km Metro News both took place in the afternoon. For the 20 km, among the men, Dominique Moncion-Groulx (Gatineau, CAN), Cameron Raynor (Huntsville, CAN) and Benjamin Osorio (Orillia, CAN) reached the 1st, 2nd and 3rd rungs on the podium, respectively. In the women’s races, the winning trio consisted of Katherine Stewart-Jones (Chelsea, CAN), Maria Allen (Ripton, USA) and Sarah-Claudie Dortie-Menard (Gatineau, CAN).
In the 5 km, Maks Zechel (Kingston, CAN), Devin Martin (Orangeville, CAN) and Maxime Plater (Ottawa, CAN) won the men´s race, whereas Emma Underwood (Kattskill Bay, USA), Jasmine Workun-Hill (Chelsea, CAN) and Roxanna Kemp (Carleton Place, CAN) led the women’s.
“We would like to congratulate all of the winners, and thank every skier who participated in this first day of competition,” noted Gatineau Loppet President Yan Michaud. We would like to remind you that tomorrow’s freestyle races will start at 9 a.m. at École secondaire Mont-Bleu. As well, there will be entertainment all day long, provided, among others, by the Carnaval Soleil Polaire, the Ski Show and Chez Lili’s Espace détente.