Feeding off a hard-fought victory in the sprint race earlier in the week, the Canadian duo stomped the field in the men’s 20-kilometre skate-ski visually impaired race, capturing their second-straight World Championship title with a time of 51:18.9.
“We are still feeling jetlag a bit so we tried to pace things as best as we could today,” said the 33-year-old McKeever. “It was pretty warm with wet and variable snow conditions so we started conservatively, stayed in control, and were able to step on it when we had too.”
With many of the top Para-Nordic skiers in the world running out of gas for the finish, the dominant Canucks pulled away from the field, finishing nearly one minute ahead of the silver medallists.
Russia grabbed the next two spots on the podium. Nikolay Polukhin and his guide, Andrey Tokarev, clocked-in at 52:16.8. Sergei Chokhlaev and Maksim Pirogov skied to the bronze medal with a time of 52:52.7.
“All of the focus right now is setting us up for Sochi,” said McKeever. “We are just trying to be at our best because we know the Russians are not going to want to lose at home. We are doing everything we can so that we are well prepared this time next year.”
A winner of 10 medals in three trips to the Paralympics with his brother Robin as his guide, McKeever and his Calgary-based childhood friend, Erik Carleton, have been nearly perfect since teaming up with each other for the World Championships two years ago.
“I don’t think the guides get nearly as much recognition as they should,” said McKeever. “It is tough being the guide because you are out front and not skiing your own race. He needs to be out front and controlling the pace. When I need him to hold off he has too, and when I need him to increase the pace he needs to do that as well.
“There are lots of little things that make a great guide. Erik has learned so much in the last year and was great again for me today. It is definitely a team effort out there, and Erik needs a lot of credit for our success.”
The IPC Nordic World Ski Championships continue on Thursday in Sweden with the start of the biathlon competitions.
The IPC World Championships can be viewed on the IPC’s YouTube Channel at www.YouTube.com/ParalympicSportTV. Next up on Solleftea are the distance races on Tuesday.
For complete Canadian and IPC World Cup results, please click HERE.