Tag Archive | "Kris Freeman"

Distance Nationals 50km CL Interviews w/Freeman, Newell, and Ulsund at USSA SuperTour Finals in Lake Tahoe

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April 12, 2013 (Truckee, CA) – Kris Freeman powered away from his competitors at the end of the men’s 50km CL Distance National Championhips, besting teammate Andy Newell, to win the coveted 2013 U.S. title in Lake Tahoe following the USSA SuperTour Finals. In this video, Martha Bellisle recaps the race with some great action footage and catches up with Freeman, Newell, and third place, Norway’s Einar Ulsund, for their comments on the race – full report and results HERE.

FIS XC WCup Men’s 1.4k CL in Kuusamo – Kriukov Scores, USA’s Hamilton 26th

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November 30, 2012 (Kuusamo, Finland) – Vancouver 2010 Olympic CL sprint gold medalist Nikita Kriukov (RUS) won the 1.4km CL sprint in Kuusamo today, scooping favourite Petter Northug (NOR) at the finish by a mere double pole. Northug had been in the lead after throwing down a strong attack on the climb with only Kriukov able to maintain contact. Kriukov used a last-second surge to take the victory – see pics below.

Emil Joensson (NOR) was the fastest qualifier, but suffered an unfortunate crash in the semifinals and was out. The USA’s Simeon Hamilton was the top North American finisher in 26th, qualifying 29th.

He appeared strong in the first half of his semifinal, but faded at the end. Things went similarly for Andy Newell (USA), who wound up 29th. No Canadians made it past the qualifiers including World Cup #1 Dario Cologna (Sui).

Alex Harvey (CAN) finished the day in 46th, with Len Valjas (CAN) 53rd, Devon Kershaw (CAN) 62nd, Kris Freeman (USA) 63rd, Sylvan Ellefson (USA) 74th, Ivan Babikov (CAN) 85th, Noah Hoffman 86th, and Kevin Sandau (CAN) 98th.


Men’s Qualifying HERE.
Men’s Final HERE.

Kershaw Scores Bronze as Cologna Takes Men’s WCup 15km CL in Otepaa

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January 22, 2012 (Otepaa, Estonia) – It was a great day for Canada’s Devon Kershaw in Otepaa with a bronze medal performance in the men’s 15km classic and yet another podium for the Canadian team in as many days. In fact it was Kershaw’s best-ever distance result in a non-Tour de Ski World Cup commented Justin Wadsworth, Canadian Head Coach.

The Sudbury skier was in the zone and lead at both intermediate splits on the Otepaa course, arguably one of the toughest cross-country ski courses on the circuit. But in the last portion of the race he was overtaken by Lukas Bauer (CZE) who surged near the end, and eventual winner Dario Cologna (SUI).

“I went out really hard today. I went for the win and I don’t regret it,” said Kershaw in a team release. “It has been a hard couple of weeks for me personally and I didn’t know what to expect coming off the Tour. Today I was able to mentally switch off the brain and focus on skiing which felt amazing.”

“The climbs out here are are relentless and punishing. They are so long which we don’t normally ski,” added Kershaw. “The Estonians know how to set up a course to ensure the strongest man wins.”

This was his first weekend of racing since his remarkable fourth overall at the grueling nine-stage Tour de Ski that ended Jan. 8. The team jetted to the Canary Islands for a break after the Tour which may become more popular with WCup skiers given Kershaw’s medal performance today and his teammate, Alex Harvey’s 4th place in the CL sprints yesterday.

Harvey finished 19th for a solid effort and was followed by the USA’s Kris Freeman (USA), the top American in 22nd place – his best distance result so far this season. Noah Hoffman (USA) also had a strong day scoring points and a personal best World Cup classic distance result, with a 26th-place finish (he was 25th in the pursuit in Whistler at the pre-Olympics).

“The race today felt really good. I went out focused on starting under control. The course was incredibly difficult, possibly the hardest I’ve ever raced on, but more than that I didn’t want to repeat my mistakes from the 15km at US Nationals,” Hoffman explained to SkiTrax post-race. “I executed that part of my plan pretty well. I also had great skis and good energy. I was happy with the way things went. I’m looking forward to building on this result for the rest of the season.”

Canada’s Len Valjas crossed the line in 31st just out of the points coming close to his best-ever World Cup finish in a distance event which was 29th in Kuusamo.

With today’s result Kershaw is now 5th overall in the World Cup ranking while Harvey sits eighth overall. Harvey was impressed with his teammate’s skiing saying, “Just so everybody knows Devon Kershaw is the man. Third place in Otepaa but special mention for gutsiest skiing!”

For Kershaw his stellar day didn’t quite erase his disappointment at placing fourth at the Tour de Ski but he’s stoked with the Canadian team’s overall performance season

“Finishing fourth has been tough to take and it was at the Tour. It is heartbreaking, but that is the thing about cross-country skiing – there is always more,” said Kershaw. “The biggest factor for me is that I’m now feeling much stronger and more comfortable every race because of the people I’m surrounded by on our team.

“We have had an athlete in the top-five at every World Cup stop this year, which I think is a credit to the athletes we have on this team, and the support from our wax techs and coaches. Mentally it is so good for me.”

Results HERE.
Results detail HERE.
World Cup Overall HERE.


Kowalczyk and Northug Claim Prologue Victories at Tour de Ski – Harvey 6th and Randall 10th

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December 29, 2011 (Oberhof, Germany) – Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland staked her claim to the women’s Tour de Ski overall crown with a win in today’s opening 3.1km Prologue stage in Oberhof, Germany. Kowalczyk bested World Cup overall leader, Marit Bjoergen (NOR) by 0.4 seconds over the 2.5km course. Sweden’s Hannah Brodin was third.

Among the American women, Kikkan Randall finished a solid 10th, with teammates Liz Stephen and Holly Brooks (who is suffering with an injured wrist – read more HERE) coming in 37th and 53rd respectively.

Meanwhile, Norway’s Petter Northug backed up his intentions to win the Tour this year with a win in the men’s 4.0km Prologue, beating Tour arch rival Dario Cologna of Switzerland by .7 seconds. France’s Maurice Magnificat finished third.

The Canadian men had an excellent day, with Alex Harvey finishing 6th and Devon Kershaw 12th. Ivan Babikov was further back in 38th position while Andy Newell had the top result for the US squad in 29th place, followed by Simi Hamilton and Kris Freeman in 63rd and 64th respectively.

Full women’s results HERE.
Full men’s results HERE.

Talkin’ with the Gravy-Train – Andy Newell Interview

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November 24, 2011   – Check out the third installment of our new SkiTrax audio series, Talkin’ with the Gravy-Train, featuring legendary commentator and sports reporter Peter Graves. Our guest this week is US skier, Andy Newell, who just arrived in Kuusamo, Finland for this weekend’s Viessmann FIS XC World Cup races. Newell reflects on his performance last weekend in Sjusjoen, Norway and looks ahead to round two, which starts Friday.

Peter’s first interviewee was Kikkan Randall, and if you missed that interview, click HERE. For Peter’s interview with Kris Freeman, click HERE.

Audio Interview with Newell

There is No Off-Season with Swenor Rollerskis

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April 07, 2011 – Swenor Rollerskis, the world’s #1 rollerskis due to their On-Snow Feel, should be your rollerski choice. SwenorSports has 10 Models of Rollerskis available today. One is sure to be the perfect model for your technique, needs and road conditions. Get your pair of the most readily available rollerski at any Swix/Swenor retailer.

Team CXC joins World Cup Superstar Petter Northug and thousands of other athletes who make Swenor the world’s #1 rollerski choice due to its on-snow feel. Kris Freeman, whose high mileage training days are legendary, states: “These wheels are the perfect speed and durable. I have no more wasted time with wrenches constantly changing wheels.” Gold medalist Billy Demong says, “Swenor’s shafts make rough pavement feel like perfect corduroy snow and saving my feet and legs.” CXC director Yuriy Gusev states: “Every athlete has different needs and Swenor offers an appropriate model for every skier.” When your entire team is ready to make the shift to Swenor contact info@swenorsports.com.


SWENOR FIBREGLASS CAP – MVP – The most popular and versatile classic rollerski
SWENOR FINSTEP CAP – Stable, Easy Roller
SWENOR CARBONFIBER – For Featherweights
SWENOR ALUTECH – The Lightweight
SWENOR TRISTAR CLASSIC – Entry level classic or long wheelbase combi alternative
SWENOR SKATE – Lightweight Skate
SWENOR SKATE JUNIOR – Junior’s first skate ski

View and download Swenor’s complete catalogue HERE.

Randall, Freeman and Newell to Present and Ski at the Cross Country Ski Areas Association Annual Conference

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April 07, 2011 (Auburn, NH) – Fischer Skis and Swix Sport announced they are sponsoring the participation of U.S. Ski Team members, Fischer ski and Swix pole athletes Kikkan Randall, Kris Freeman and Andy Newell at the 2011 Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSAA) Annual Conference at the Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, April 12-14. The three Olympians’ participation offers conference attendees as well as local Masters and Juniors Nordic enthusiasts the rare opportunity to meet and ski with the best cross country racers the U.S. has to offer.

On Wednesday, April 13, the three Fischer/Swix athletes will join CCSAA members and guests for dinner at The Ritz-Carlton hotel, Lake Tahoe. Immediately following, they will showcase World Cup race footage and share first-hand accounts of the recent competition.

On Thursday, April 14, the three will join conference attendees as they ski the 14km groomed Nordic trail from Northstar to the Tahoe Cross Country Center in the morning. That afternoon, Kikkan, Kris and Andy will host clinics open to both Masters and Junior skiers at the Northstar trails. Visit the Cross Country Ski Areas Association Web site for details on this special opportunity HERE.

“We are very excited to grant our friends at the CCSAA conference unique access to these World Cup athletes,” said Peter Ashley, vice president, Nordic Division, Fischer Skis U.S. “Exposure to this level of athlete is rare off the race circuit, and now junior racers and conference attendees alike will enjoy time with them as they share tips on technique and recount recent season highlights and record wins.”

Fischer Skis dominated the 2011 World Championships, taking 71% of ski medals and 32% of the boot medals. Kikkan Randall finished tenth in the Overall World Cup, and her third place finish in the sprint overall rankings is the best finish ever by a U.S. Nordic sprint athlete.

Andy Newell capped off his World Cup season with a fifth place finish in the final World Cup Sprint event held in Stockholm, Sweden, and has finished within the top ten sprint overall rankings five times in his career.

Kris Freeman had numerous top ten finishes in World Cup distance events this season and will begin the World Cup season next year in the prestigious World Cup Red Group, reserved for the top thirty racers in the world.

Stockholm WCup Sprint Photos

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March 17, 2011 (Stockholm, Sweden) – Here are some great photos from yesterday’s Royal Palace Sprint in Stockholm won by Petra Majdic (SLO) and Emil Joensson (NOR). With their victories, Joensson and Majdic sewed up the respective men’s and women’s 2011 World Cup Sprint titles, as the series now heads into the final weekend in Falun, Sweden. The USA’s Kikkan Randall claimed third overall in the women’s Sprint Series – read more here on the women’s race and here for the men’s race.


Diggins Report – World Championship Pursuits

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February 28, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – Two days ago, I raced my first 15km pursuit ever… at the World Championships! Maybe not the ideal time to experiment with pacing, but it sure was fun while it lasted. It was an interesting day with heavy fog that made it hard on the spectators and racers alike; you couldn’t see the turns on the fast downhills till you hit them! I almost fell face-first a couple of times but managed to stay upright.

The crowds were fantastic; they lined the course and although 95% were totally intoxicated, the noise and enthusiasm really gave me a boost during the race. It’s impossible to give up when people are screaming “HI-YA!” at you! (it means GO! in Norwegian)

I had the best mass start I’ve ever been in, because I was situated #42, on the right outside track. I was able to hop out of the track and double pole up the outside while on the first hill out of the stadium people were going ballistic and tripping in the tracks. I snuck around the corner and caught onto the end of the big pack to be in the top 30. I was so excited because our skis were so fast – we had the perfect mix of good kick up the steep climbs and fast glide on the downhills.

However, I’d done a really poor job of hydrating and fueling up the days prior to my race, which proved to be a painful lesson to learn the hard way. I started to hit the wall at only 6km, and could taste iron in the back of my throat the rest of the race. I shouldn’t have needed a feed in a 15km, but the coaches had three stations ready, just in case.

And you know what? I missed all three! So embarrassing. I dropped the first bottle, and the second time around, I managed to grab the bottle… and gave myself a Gatorade facewash! So now every coach in the world knows that I had the worst feed in the history of world champs. What a prestigious title! To be fair, I’ve never tried to take a feed in a big race before. But now I’ve got good incentive to practice!

At the end of the day, Marit Bjoergen took the women’s title (surprise, surprise!) but the US women had a great day – Liz led the charge in 24th, Holly came in 25th, I finished 28th and Mo wrapped up our top 45 day in 43rd! Full results are linked HERE.

The next day was the men’s 30km pursuit, and Holly and I had a great time cheering them on. We got to be part of an international cheering squad as we hiked down a steep snowy hill to get right alongside the classic part of the course. It was really cool to see all the people camping in the snowbank; some had even shoveled out benches and settled down for the afternoon!

We hiked back to the stadium in time to see Alex Harvey of Canada pull the most ballsy move I’ve ever seen in a 30km pursuit – he broke the pack with like 6km to go and went off the front on his own! Sadly, his legs cramped up with about 3km to go and the pack sucked him back in. But it was super cool to see him off the front for a lap with a chase pack of 20 guys all scared to death that a U23 was going to beat them.

The men finished thus: Northug won, with Russians in 2nd and 3rd. Kris Freeman led the US guys in 29th, Noah Hoffman came in 37, Lars Flora finished in 53rd and Tad Elliott came in 55th. Full results are linked HERE.

Then we had a bit of a transportation snafu – due to the pedestrians crowding the street and the King of Norway getting back down the hill safely, they totally shut down the roads and we had to sit on a bus for an hour and a half before getting back to the hotel. It was a long day, but still worth it to see such an exciting race.

Today is the women’s 10km classic… and I’m headed out to cheer!

Sweden’s Rickardsson Takes 15K CL Win in Drammen – Kershaw 26th UPDATED

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February 19, 2011 (Drammen, Norway) – Sweden’s tough Daniel Rickardsson had both power and magic in his skiing on Saturday taking his first-ever World Cup win at the Konnerud ski stadium just six kilometers from this well known Nordic community, famed for it’s city centre sprints.

Rickardsson scored the win in the men’s 15km classic with a time of 37:19.1 on the tough trails over Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sunby winning by 29 seconds. Norwegian stud, Petter Northug, took third. More than 15,000 cheering fans came out to watch this final tune up just a week before the World Championships get underway in Oslo.

Fourth place went to Davos’ Switzerland’s Dario Cologna, who continues to lead the overall world cup standings with 1,247 points followed by Northug in second with 834 points.

While Rickkkardsson has been on the podium three times today was his first taste of the world cup nectar. He was thrilled following the race. “I had a good feeling the whole race, and I hoped to be on the podium. I will not start in Sunday’s sprint, as I will go home to Sweden and take it easy. I want to relax and will probably do all of the distance races at the World Champs.”

While the Canadian women struggled in their classic race earlier in the day, the men put in a reasonable showing. Devon Kershaw was 26th in 39:00.1, while Alex Harvey was 30th in 39:04.0, and prompted Head Coach and former Olympian Justin Wadsworth to tell SkiTrax following the race.

“For Devon it’s been since Jan. 9th without a race and he said he had a hard time getting into a rhythm. Alex has not raced a lot since the Tour de Ski as well and didn’t feel amazing, so it was a good tune up for both of them. I have 100% confidence they’re in good shape and it will show at the Worlds.”

Harvey weighed in with skitrax.com following the competition and said that his race went pretty much as he expected. “It was a good course for me, long uphills where you can stride it out and glide a lot. The course was really hard – the first 2km are basically all uphill – then you get 1km of downhill, and more uphill. Conditions were nice, a little on the cold side, especially on the last lap when it was close to -10.”

Ivan Babikov was 44th while George Grey was 68th for the Canadian National team.

The top American men was Kris Freeman who placed 57th with a time of 40:03.7. Freeman was quick to praise his skis but called it a frustrating day.

“My body just wasn’t there. I am not freaking out, but it’s not a confidence builder leading into Oslo.” The New Hampshire native said his blood sugar was ok, but just felt flat on the skis for no apparent reason but suggested that he may have over trained in the week prior to Drammen.

Freeman also said the US squad was very pleased by the strong Beitostolen results adding that he would skip Sunday’s sprint and would now head to Oslo for his final preparations for the Worlds.

“We had a rough one for sure today,” said US head coach Chris Grover. “I think Kris was a bit rusty from four weeks without racing. He will get going in Oslo for sure.”

Other American finishes included Noah Hoffman in 71st place, followed by teammates Lars Flora in 72nd and Tadd Elliott who was 77th.

All eyes will be now trained on Sunday’s free technique sprints in Drammen, the final world cup event before the start of the VM in Oslo next week.

Full results HERE.

US XC Head Coach Grover on Beitostølen Podiums

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February 14, 2011 (Beitostølen, Norway) – SkiTrax caught up with US XC Head Coach Chris Grover to get his thoughts on the stellar US weekend in Beitostølen, Norway where Jessie Diggins topped the Junior field in the women’s 10km classic and overall was third behind 2nd-placed Morgan Arritola with Liz Stephen in fourth. Tad Elliott finished 11th in the men’s 15km classic race – read more HERE.

“We are feeling very good about our weekend here in Beito,” said Grover. “We had eight top-5 finishes over the three days, despite not having some of our WM crew here [Lars, Kris, Kikkan, Holly, and Noah]. Everyone from our WM team that was here had at least one good race. There were almost 900 athletes racing on the weekend.

“Although temperatures are quite cold all over Norway, we have managed to have good training. There is lots of snow and lots of skiing here. Our living and food situations have been optimal. The Team is healthy and we are prepared to be successful in Drammen and in Oslo.”

NCCSEF, USST Partner to Fund all Athletes to World Nordic Championships

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February 14, 2011 – The National Cross-Country Ski Education Foundation has partnered with the US Ski Team to fully fund all U. S. Cross Country athletes who represent the U.S. at the 2011 World Nordic Ski Championships.

Dave Knoop, NCCSEF director, states “The World Championships are the premier Nordic competition outside of the Olympics. We wanted to make sure each athlete who qualifies for the Championships could focus on their preparation for the games and not worry about covering the cost for this trip.”

“We will be going to Norway with a group of athletes who have all earned this honor with strong performances this season,” said Nordic Program Director John Farra. “And we are pleased that are at the championships as one united team all will be equally funded and supported. It’s a special honor for each of these athletes to be able to compete in Norway.”

NCCSEF Ski Fundraising Challenge
The NCCSEF challenges the ski community at large to help fund these athletes. Make your tax deductible contribution to NCCSEF designating World Championships and we will ensure that your contribution goes to offsetting trip expenses for all athletes. To contribute and learn about NCCSEF visit www.nccsef.org

2011 World Nordic Ski Championships U. S. Cross Country Ski Team
– Tad Elliott – Central Cross Country
– Lars Flora – Alaska Pacific University
– Kris Freeman – Andover Outing Club
– Simi Hamilton – Sun Valley Ski Ed Foundation
– Noah Hoffman – Aspen Valley Ski Club
– Torin Koos – Methow Olympic Development
– Andy Newell – Stratton Mountain School

– Morgan Arritola – Sun Valley Ski Ed Foundation
– Holly Brooks – Alaska Pacific University
– Sadie Bjornsen -Alaska Pacific University
– Jessie Diggins- Central Cross Country
– Kikkan Randall – Alaska Pacific University
– Ida Sargent – Craftsbury Green Racing Project
– Liz Stephen- Burke Mountain Academy

2011 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships Cross Country Schedule – Oslo, Norway
– Feb. 24 – Freestyle sprint
– Feb. 26 – W’s 15k Pursuit
– Feb 27 – M 30k Pursuit
– Feb. 28- W 10k Classic
– Mar. 1 – M 15k Classic
– Mar. 2 – Team classic sprint
– Mar. 3 – W Relay
– Mar. 4 – M Relay
– Mar. 5 – W 30k Freestyle
– Mar. 6 – M 50k Freestyle

Cologna Wins TdS Overall as Bauer Powers to 3rd – Kershaw 7th and Harvey 10th

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January 9, 2010 (Alpe Cermis, Italy) – It’s over. The 5th annual FIS Tour de Ski finished atop Italy’s Alpe Cermis today, crowning Swiss super star Dario Cologna as the best all-round ski racer in the world. Cologna had little trouble defending his commanding lead on the 9km uphill climb.

Norway’s Petter Northug claimed 2nd over all, but the real story was Czech Lucas Bauer’s phenomenal display of climbing prowess. Like Therese Johaug (NOR) in the women’s race Bauer hurled himself up the mountain, posting the fastest time of the day and vaulted himself from 10th to 3rd in the over all.

Canadians Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey, who throughout the Tour have posted some of their country’s most impressive World Cup results ever, finished in 7th and 10th respectively overall.

In come-from-behind moves of their own, Canadian Ivan Babikov and US skier Kris Freeman posted impressive results on the final day. Both skiers have struggled during the Tour, but today they left that all behind, skiing together and snagging the 6th and 7th fastest times of the day respectively – Babikov ended up 21st overall and Freeman was 28th.

For Freeman having the 7th best time up Alpe Cermis behind Babikov in 6th was a final coup for him at the Tour and retribution for yesterday’s waxing debacle in the 20km classic.

“For sure today was an attempt to make good on yesterday which was a 19-km sufferfest. I felt good going into the 20km on Stage 7 but knew after the first kilometre I knew that I was in trouble – it was a frustrating day out there and no one felt good about it.”

An interesting twist to Freeman’s day was forgetting his transponders, “a rookie move” as he put it. “I was distracted today because of yesterday and some personal issues and only realized at 1.5km into today’s race that I’d forgotten my transponders – a rookie move. Chris [Grover, Head Coach] appealed to the jury later and I was super lucky that they understood and allowed my day to count.”

For the first few kilometres of the race things stayed relatively calm. At 3.5km Harvey was skiing very well, having moved into 3rd behind Cologna and Northug with Kershaw in 6th. But by the 5.6km mark, Harvey had been overtaken by Italy’s Roland Clara and France’s Jean Marc Gaillard who had passed Kershaw now in 7th… as Bauer lurked behind in 10th.

Nothing much changed by the next interval at 6.5km but soon after everything did. Just as the skiers hit the toughest point on this toughest of courses, Bauer dropped the hammer and suddenly attacked vaulting himself into 3rd by the 7.4km mark. From there, it was all about masochism, and Bauer certainly knows how to punish himself.

So too, does Babikov, who last year took the win in the Tour’s final hill climb. The former Russian skier, and veteran of three tours said he felt strong on today’s stage.

“I always felt pretty confident on this stage,” said Babikov. “I knew I had a chance for a good time on the day, so I went for it hoping to get some points.”

He said this year’s edition of the challenging stage was especially tough.

“Every year it seems longer, or maybe I’m just getting older. Either way, it’s tough. Some places are very narrow and it’s hard to pass. With the 6th fastest time, I’m happy,” commented Babikov.

Devon Kershaw was quick to agree with his teammate.

“Hill climbing is super hard,” said Kershaw. “I moved into 7th, and I’m happy to have stayed in the top 10. Losing time in the overall is a little disappointing, but with four podiums and such solid races, we must have done some good training.”

With one bronze, two silvers and a gold medal from this Tour, Kershaw also takes home some significant prize money. Cologna will take home 150,000 Swiss Francs ($155,000US) for the overall win, with Northug picking up 100,000. Bauer get’s 50,000 thanks entirely to today’s powerful showing…not bad for a day’s work.

All told Kershaw will head back to Canada with 25,000 Swiss Francs. When asked about his plans for the cash, Kershaw joked, saying “The guys have been razzing me about my old ’96 Saab…maybe it’s time I passed it along and might get something newer in the spring.” A new set of wheels is certainly a well-deserved reward for Kershaw’s impressive results of late.

Canadian head coach Justin Wadsworth couldn’t be happier with how this year’s Tour has gone.

“I knew Dev and the guys would ski well,” said Wadsworth. “They’ve been working hard. I thought one podium for sure, but four… I couldn’t have predicted that.”

U.S. coach Chris Grover was also gratified with Freeman’s solid day to end the Tour. “Considering our wax issues yesterday it was really important for Kris to have a good day – it was a great finish for him on good skis.”

Freeman heads to Munich later today and will be home tomorrow where he’ll take a short break and then prepare for the Nordic Worlds in Oslo in Feb.

Alex Harvey echoed his teammates enthusiasm for their accomplishments over 10 days of grueling racing.

“It’s like a circle,” he said. “Dev medals, and we all get pumped, and it pushes us. Then it happens again and it keeps coming around.”

Harvey posted some very strong splits early in today’s race, even taking over 3rd place for a short while.

“It was really good, I’m really happy with how my body felt. The real skiing, in the stadium and early on felt really good…but when I hit that wall, man, with all that off setting…my legs just cramped up. That climb is just so hard.”

Harvey also heaped praise on the coaching and wax staff, pointing out how well taken care of he, Devon and Ivan were.

“Justin’s been really good, pushing us on recovery and stuff like that. Having the bus was a huge advantage. It’s a great lounge for us after the races. We’ll have it again next year.” The Canadians may just be on to something. The tour bus has been such a hit that it’s likely other teams will follow suit.

For now, the Canucks are heading home. Kershaw and Babikov will head back to Canmore, and Harvey home to Quebec for a month of recovery and prep training before returning to Europe for World Championships. But Harvey will first make a quick stop at the U23 World Champs.

“It’s my last year U23,” he said. “And I want to use that. I’d like to go for a U23 World Champs title while I can.”

Men’s 9km Pursuit Results HERE.
Men’s 9km Pursuit finishing order HERE.
Final Overall HERE.
Final Overall detail HERE.

The Way I See It – Exciting Racing, Canadian Uniforms, George Grey, US Nationals, Haywood Trials, Dynamic Duo, Worlds Selections

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January 09, 2011 – What a week of racing – so exciting at all levels – the Tour de Ski (TdS), US Nationals and  the Haywood Trials to both pick the Senior Worlds, Junior Worlds and the U23 Championship teams that will all be heading to Europe in the next few weeks for their championships.

First to the TdS where the Canadian men are making all kinds of astronomical break through’s when it comes to the results and standing on the podium. It’s a very grueling series of races, and if you don’t believe that, look at how many people will be on the starting line tomorrow for the final race and the crowning of the King and Queen of the Tour. A total of 79 men started this trek along with 58 women and there will be 40 men and 36 women left to attack the Alpe Cermis – a very huge climb – to  continue to takes it’s toll right to the last second.

Canadian Team uniforms are interesting when seen from a distance – the lower legs being all white gives the appearance that the Canadians are skiing in knickers – the old fashion way.

Coverage of all of the competitions has really lifted the level of media exposure – press reporting, pictures by the 100s flying all over the place, twitter, and the video links to the TdS are all really cool. I was at a dinner party tonight and half the guests knew all about what was taking place at the TdS, and knew the skiers names. They sure slaughter Northug’s name!!! All an outcome of last year’s Olympics in Vancouver and of course the excellent results help the big time media pick up the releases in both countries.

George Grey made a very interesting quote after winning the first trial race at Thunder Bay at the Haywood NorAm Worlds Trials.

“It was awfully tight and very technical out there today,” said Grey. “I don’t really have my shape but I think my experience put me in the front in the end. The last few weeks of training have been challenging because my fitness isn’t there. But it will come around.”

It’s getting late George, half the World Cup schedule is done, you were in Europe before Xmas and had less than good results and have had the better part of a month to get things in order. The “Big 4” from Vancouver is now down to the “Big 2” as Ivan is also struggling to find his shape. Rumours have it that you made only one training camp all summer and fall and of course we all know about Ivan’s reality trip to South America and car buying trip to the US. This sport takes a full year of training effort every year – hope you guys catch fire soon.

The US Nationals were one soggy mess the first day of racing in Rumford. Use your imagination and instead of calling this Rumford, call it Oslo, as during the time that the Worlds are being hosted there it can easily be that ugly and worse. Plus the next day can be ass rattling icy. You had some good practice – be happy.

Haywood Trials one more time, and where was Canada’s sprint champion, Chandra Crawford? I know that she is headed to Liberec along with Dasha Gaiazova next week for some more international racing. I would have thought she would want to race the T-Bay races to lift her racing fitness to be ready for this tour. I know that she has had only one race since coming back from Europe over a month ago. She could have gone to Rossland with all the boys and Dasha the next weekend upon return and given those races a real lift by being there. Her counterparts in Europe are now at the 16-18 races for the year level and Chandra is only at 6-8 races. If Chandra makes it as a sprinter only, she will be the only one in the world.

The women who are the top women in the world are both sprinters and distance skiers, at all levels. I would use Kikkan Randall, a close friend of Chandra’s, as an example of the necessary steps that have to be taken. She was trying to make it as a sprinter two years ago – the light bulb went on and now she’s becoming a really good sprinter (currently ranked 3rd in the world) and is slugging her way through her first TdS quite nicely – and ranked 23rd on the WC distance list as I write this. Racing fitness comes from racing – it is the only way! There are not enough sprint races on the WC circuit to get anyone in shape.

Update on Canada’s dynamic duo, Devon and Alex, as they have been working there way through the TdS, they have also been improving the standings on the World Cup. Devon stands in 7th place overall and Alex has placed himself nicely in 11th. Too bad Alex didn’t make a better effort of being ready for the WC races before Christmas, coming late to the tour and then going home for some school exams. Who know how good he would be now?

Who makes the US Team to the World Championships in Oslo, Norway – here are my choices and I don’t have a clue about the criteria.

Women – Randall, Brooks, Arritola, Stephens, Symth – and as a PS send both Diggins and Bjornson to the World Jrs and U23s with the proviso that if they can make the top 10 in any event they come to Oslo.

Men – Freeman, Newell, Flora, Southam, Elliott and Hoffman – and have Hamilton prove himself in Drammen.

Both teams are building towards Sochi with older leadership, maturity and youth and will be on the international long road to getting ready for the big show 2014.

PS remember, no one can ski the whole schedule and you’re bound to have some sickness. Also – Oslo will be one hell of a show – close to or the equal of Sochii. Great place for the newbies to get their feet wet – no pun intended.

Talk to you soon.

Super Dario Wins as Harvey Takes 5th and Kershaw 10th at TdS 35km Pursuit UPDATED

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January 06, 2011 (Cortina, Italy) – Dario Cologna (SUI) hammered out a lonely 35km from Cortina to Toblach, Italy to maintain his dominant overall lead in today’s 6th stage at the FIS Tour de Ski. As leader of the Tour, Cologna started first in today’s handicap start, and no one could catch him. Swede Marcus Hellner came the closest, finishing second at 1:11.4 behind. Norway’s Petter Northug was the strongest in the chase group to finish third at 1:50.3 behind.

Canada’s Alex Harvey skied a very strong race today, finishing 5th. He helped control a chase pack of about 10 skiers that formed behind Hellner who broke away on his own attempting to bridge to Cologna to no avail. The group was intent on hunting down the leaders and by km 16, Harvey was pulling for Kershaw.

“It feels pretty good sitting in 5th! I’m kind of surprised, I was always coming to the Tour with the ambition of having 2-3 good days, not going for the overall,” said Harvey by email.

With Cologna skiing off the front at 5km, Canada’s Devon Kershaw had initially gained about 5 seconds on the leader and  was followed closely by Hellner but couldn’t maintain the pace.

“Today’s race was frustrating. I felt good again but when Hellner went by me he was on another level,” Kershaw told SkiTrax.  “I was going for it – but alone in the wind with a chase group of 10 breathing down hard on me – I was quickly swallowed up. I know I will celebrate my two 2nd place finishes and my career-first win when I get home, and I know I’ll be thrilled about them, but today I was left frustrated.”

Harvey said Kershaw’s three recent medals were on his mind as he raced. “I was motivated by watching Devon yesterday,” he said in a CCC press release.  “We saw Devon win a race and have three podiums – we know it’s possible. Today I was right there myself and I know I can get on the podium too.”

Along with the Canucks, the 10-skier chase pack included top skiers like Petter Northug (NOR), Lucas Bauer (CZE), Martin Jaks (CZE) and Daniel Rickardsson (SWE). The group skied well together at first, but by km 21 they seemed disorganized. When it became apparent that they weren’t likely to close in on Cologna or Hellner, they began to lose time as they each worried about the approaching finish line.

In the final few kms the pack began to splinter and it was every man for himself.

“The pack was very disorganized out there coming down the hill,” said Kershaw.  “Northug and Alex’s skis were definitely a notch above the rest, but with an opportunity for 3rd place in that pack – no one was willing to sacrifice to get back on Hellner.”

“I was pushing hard on the downhill part with Northug,” said Harvey.   “It seamed like people gave up on chasing Hellner and started racing for 3rd place, which is kind of stupid in a handicap start.  Who cares about the 3rd place really? I’d rather be 9th 30sec down on Hellner than 3rd 55sec down.  I was surprised that Northug was pushing the pace… he’s not known for doing that, but was 3rd in the end.”

Harvey said he felt that Kershaw’s pack could have done more to catch Hellner early on instead of resigning themselves to third, but as for catching Cologna, “No way in hell. He’s just better than anyone else right now, calm, strong and always putting himself in the right spot.”

As the skiers closed in on the finish line, Northug was able to best the few survivors of the chase pack, with Harvey taking a photo-finish over Rickardsson and Curdin Purl (SUI) to finish 5th. Kershaw finished 10th behind Matti Heikkinen (FIN) and Jean Marc Gaillard (FRA).

“It was OK for the guys today,” said Canadian head coach Justin Wadsworth. “Alex was in good company to move up well. I would say it was a good day for him. Devon was OK too – he maintained his spot for the whole way up the hill, but succumbed to the group on the gradual down. It would have cost a lot of energy today for him to really go for it, and it might have been too much of a risk, especially with the 20km classic coming up. Ivan had a good day and moved up which puts him in a spot to improve more in the following days.”

Wadsworth said the team’s “rock-star” bus proved yet again to be a great tool for the athletes. “The bus is really serving it’s purpose with great recovery between stages, and a sanctum for the guys to prepare for battle. It came in really handy this morning in Cortina where there was no good place for the athletes to be.”

Canada’s Ivan Banikov finished 25th and the USA’s Kris Freeman placed 28th after starting in 20th and is 28th overall. Freeman’s teammate Andy Newell decided to call it quits and didn’t start today’s race. He joins 34 others who have abandoned the grueling Tour including Tobias Angerer (GER), Axel Teichmann (GER), Alexander Legkov (RUS) and Emil Joensson (SWE).

“Kris wanted more for sure and was hoping to move forward instead of falling back,” said US coach Chris Grover. “However, I was proud of his effort, especially for his first time seeing and skiing such a specialized course. I think this course requires some experience.”

As for Newell’s decision to withdraw, Grover said, “Andy and I decided it was best for him to stop the Tour. His distance skiing has not been close to his ability or potential this week, so we feel we need to take some days off and re-evaluate his preparation for the second half of the season.”

Kershaw on Fire Takes 2nd at TdS Classic Sprint Nailbiter won by Joensson UPDATED

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January 02, 2011 (Oberstdorf, Germany) – Canada’s Devon Kershaw claimed his second silver in as many days just missing out to winner Emil Joensson (SWE) by a toe nail in the men’s 1.2km classic sprint final as the two lunged across the line in a photo finish that went to Joensson. TdS leader Dario Cologna (SUI) was third.

It was déjà vu for Kershaw, who was nipped by Cologna yesterday in the men’s 15km handicap start pursuit, but the stalwart Canuck stepped it up today taking the lead near the end of the final round looking for the win and it took everything that WCup sprint leader Joensson could muster to catch him at the line.

Kershaw’s performance puts him firmly in second place overall at the Tour at 3.7s behind Cologna with Alexander Legkov (RUS) in third at 23.1s. It also demonstrates that the 28-year-old athlete from Sudbury, Ont. is one of the most talented and well-rounded Nordic skiers in the world with second-place podiums in both distance and sprint races on consecutive days.

“I was going for the win,” Kershaw said in a SkiTrax interview post race. “I felt strong and my classic skiing has been good. I have a lot of respect for the other guys out there – Joensson and Cologna are Olympic champions. I thought I had it – my first World Cup win… that’s always my goal and I was so close.

“Joensson crept up on me at the end – I didn’t even hear him I was so focused on the finish line. We both lunged for it and I’ve got big feet which I thought would be an advantage but not this time.”

Kershaw, who was 7th in the qualifications, used a similar strategy in each heat hanging back a bit and then advancing to position himself strong for the final uphill before sweeping down to the finish for the final sprint. Earlier in his quarterfinal round with the USA’s Andy Newell the American was in control leading for most of heat until the finish when Kershaw overtook him for the win. Newell almost got caught by a Russian skier but held on to advance.

In the final Kershaw’s strategy worked again as he passed Joensson and Cologna on the last uphill and put the hammer down as they all headed for the finish but the Swede reeled him on the final stretch for the win.

“He’s worked hard and our technical crew did a fabulous job on the skis – everything came together and Devon’s got the confidence in himself to go for it at the right time,” commented Canadian Head Coach Justin Wadsworth.

“It was really, really tight in the finish, the tightest finish in my life, I changed the tracks, closed my eyes and went for it all,”  Joensson told FIS XC. “I was really happy when the announcer said I was the winner. My body was really tired, the last race was really though. Tour de Ski is getting harder, I feel tired. When the race is on, all I focus on is winning the race. I was lucky today.”

Kershaw’s team mate Alex Harvey also had a stellar day besting Petter Northug (NOR) in his quarter final round and making it to the semis where he narrowly missed advancing as he placed third in his heat to finish seventh and sits in 4th overall behind Legkov at 36.9s.

“Yeah, another great day for the team,” said Harvey, “I felt good in the qualifiers, posting a fast time (6th) to make it into the finals. In my 1/4 final, I had a good start and was 3rd behind Northug and another Norwegian. I skied easily up the first hill, pushed a bit over the top and went into 2nd place.

“On the second climb I got pushed into a wide lane so at the top I lost a position to Northug. In the finishing stretch I knew I would have to give it all because I had to pass Northug to come in 2nd – but I made it so it was kind of a personal victory – out-sprinting Northug to the line! Definitely good for the confidence!”

Kershaw, Harvey and Newell found themselves against three Swedes in their semi final heat. Marcus Hellner bolted to the front as Newell slipped and fell right at the start but held his composure and rejoined the group by the first climb.

“I felt strong today but had a lot of bad luck in the semi final,” said Newell. “I fell right out of the start gate. Not sure if the wand got stuck, or if I poled my boot or ski, or if I slipped but I went down fast. So I started about 20 meters behind everyone and was able to catch up and even ski all the way back into second going up the final hill.”

As the Swedes lead Kershaw, Harvey and Newell glided behind but over the final hill Joensson took charge with Kershaw just behind. As they rounded the last corner into the final straight-away Newell went down again.

“We all kind of came into the finishing lanes together and as we were setting up to pick our lanes Marcus Hellner’s pole caught my ski and I did a belly flop – twice on the same heat – so hopefully I got a few crashes out of the way for a while,” explained Newell who finished 12th.

Joensson and Kershaw went 1-2 in the semi setting up their match up in the final and more fireworks. The day was a mixed bag for the USA as Newell’s team mate Kris Freeman made the sprint qualifications for the first time in his career (at a WCup) but was fourth in his quarter final to finish 24th overall. Canada’s Ivan Babikov was 65th.

“It was great for Bird [Freeman] to make it in there,” said Head Coach Chris Grover. “For a distance skier like him, it was a great performance.”

Despite his back-to-back stellar days Kershaw is focused on the rest of the Tour. “Anything can happen and you’re done,” he said. “The Tour starts tomorrow with the pursuit race – you can’t lose your perspective. The key is stay relaxed and I don’t plan on trying for any bonus points.”

And what are his thoughts on the team’s magic bus? “Very cool! Great idea by Justin – we love it. It’s a great place to hang out and chill.”

Results HERE.
Overall HERE.
Overall detail HERE.

The Sasseville Report – Xmas Mid-Term Report Card

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December 20, 2010 (Barrie, ON) – I don’t know about you, but I like dynasties in sport. I like it when teams and individuals dominate a sport for a number of seasons. I was a big fan of the Boston Celtics of the NBA in the 1960s, of UCLA and John Wooden in college basketball at the same time, and of the Montreal Canadiens in the 1970s and the Edmonton Oilers in the1980s for hockey (sorry I cannot be a fan of the Yankees, though).

There have been dynasties in cross-country skiing as well. In the 1980s it was the Swedish men led by Gunde Swan and Thomas Wassberg and Torgny Mogren. In the 1990s it was the Russian women led by Elena Valbe and the Norwegian men led by Vegard Ulvang and Bjorn Daehlie. This dynasty continued throughout the first decade of the 21st century.

The Norwegian women are the new dynasty for women’s skiing. Led by Marit Bjoergen they are beginning to dominate. On Sunday they showed this domination by annihilating the field in the relay. Bjoergen won her 9th World Cup in a row on Saturday and she has likely locked up the World Cup for 2011 already and it’s not even 2011 yet.

I thought that the Swedish women would give them a run for their money this year, but they have not delivered yet. They started well at home in Gallivare but faded throughout the rest of November and December due to illness. The Italian women have been strong in sprinting, and finished 2nd on Sunday in the women’s relay but they are a long way behind the Norwegians. The German, Slovakian, Slovenian, French and surprisingly the Russian women have been silent during this time.

Justyna Kowalczyk has been consistently 2nd to Bjoergen throughout this first racing period but she is getting closer and closer. On Saturday she lost in a sprint finish and I expect her to win the Tour de Ski after Xmas as Bjoergen will be at home in Norway.

Kikkan Randall has led the American women with two podium finishes in the last couple of weeks in skating sprints. She has solidified her place near the top in this discipline and is getting better in distance racing and classic. Morgan Arritola and Liz Stephen both finished in the top 20 on Saturday in La Clusaz for their best results of the campaign.

Dasha Gaiazova and Chandra Crawford were on the podium in Dusseldorf for the best result for the Canadian women. Canada’s women have been very strong for almost a decade and it looks like Chandra and Dasha are carrying the torch to the future. Chandra also had an 8th in Dusseldorf and Dasha scored points in a number of races. The downside is that there is not much depth in women’s ranks in Canada right now.

I believe that there is a dynasty brewing on the men’s side but it’s not where I thought it would come from at the start of the season. At that time I thought that the Swedish men would begin to dominate the podiums, which they did at the start of the season, but like the women they faded badly in December. The Norwegian men continue to struggle and they seem to be getting worse. The sprinters do not dominate like they used to and with Northug recovering from overtraining for most of the start of the season the distance men are also doing very poorly. Northug did come on strong on Saturday in La Clusaz for a 2nd place in the 30km free mass start race – so watch out for him after Xmas.

No, the new dominant men’s team are the Russians. Alexander Legkov is leading the World Cup standings but he is not alone at the top. Maxim Vylegzhanin won the 30km on Saturday doing something that few people have been able to do before this year – beat Petter Northug in a sprint finish. Lekgov was 3rd in this race and there were also two other Russian men in the top 11 on Saturday – and they finished 2nd on Sunday in the team relay to the suprising Swiss team.

They also have a very strong sprint group – remember that they were 1st and 2nd last year in Vancouver in the men’s individual sprint final. Alexei Pehtoukov and Nicolai Morilov are the best right now, but they have four or five skiers who can be on the podium. They have started again with new coaches and a new system and they are going to be a force in Sochi in four years.

The Swiss men surprised everyone by easily winning the Men’s Relay on Sunday. Dario Cologna has been one of the best skiers in the world for the past couple of years, but this result came out of the blue. The other three skiers – Toni Livers, Remo Fischer and Curdin Perl skied fantastic legs for the victory. Cross-country skiing is the poor second cousin to Alpine in Switzerland and in order to get press they need to win. This was a resounding win.

Emil Joensson of Sweden has shown that he is the best sprinter in the world. He has broken the Norwegian men’s domination – for now – but things can change quickly in sprinting. The Norwegians have a very strong sprinting program so look for them to be strong later on in the year.

Kris Freeman put together some great top 10 results in this period, but he was the only American male to do consistently well.  Simi Hamilton who debuted on the European World Cup scene had a superb sprint race in Davos qualifying 11th and finished 16th which is a good sign of things to come. Veteran Andy Newell continues to disappoint by following the same pattern of qualifying well in the sprints but hasn’t put his game plan together well in the heats. And Euro World Cup newbie, Noah Hoffman, also showed signs of talent starting well for a rookie with a 31st placing in the 15km freestyle at the World Cup opener in Gallivare, Sweden, but struggled as the trip went on.

The Canadian men were all over the map with their results in November and December. Devon Kershaw showed flashes of brilliance, but in other races he was ordinary. The same is true for Alex Harvey. Ivan Babikov and George Grey were nowhere near where they finished in Vancouver. In total they were not as good as I thought that they would be based on their results in Vancouver last year and all of the positive statements coming from them this summer and fall about how good they were training and how things were going. I think that everyone was expecting them to take a step forward as a group and it looks like they have taken a step backward. Is it the post-Olympic blues or something else? We will know better at the Tour de Ski and the World Championships in March in Oslo.

One bright spot were the sprint results from Len Valjas and Phil Widmer in Davos where they both finished in the top 20 and qualified for the World Championships. Len is a rookie on the World Cup as well and this was a great result for him and it was a breakthrough for Phil who in the past had the speed to qualify well but like  Newell he could not finish well in the heats.

Now it’s time to take a deep breath and get ready for the Tour de Ski that starts on December 31. Most skiers are at home while some of the Canadians and Americans have stayed in Europe. Not all of the top skiers will be in the Tour de Ski because it is very hard and difficult to recover from. Lukas Bauer (CZE) and Justina Kowalczyk (POL) were the winners last year and I believe that they will challenge for the top again this year.

Have a great holiday season everyone – ski as much as you can.

Kershaw 9th at Davos WCup 15km Classic – Poltaranin Surprise Winner UPDATED

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December 11, 2010 (Davos, Switzerland) – Canada’s Devon Kershaw had another great day on snow leading the North American men with a 9th place finish in the men’s 15km classic individual start as Kazakstan’s Alexey Poltaranin was the surprise winner on Saturday in Davos to claim his first world cup win. It was a tight race as only six seconds separated the top five finishers with Kershaw 21s behind the winning time of 40:03.5.

American Kris Freeman was on pace but blew up in the last 4km to finish 23rd while Canada’s George Grey regained his form and was just out of the points in 32nd. Fellow Canuck Ivan Babikov, a late arrival in Davos, was 38th, followed by Stefan Kuhn in 67th, and Calgary’s Brent McMurtry in 75th. American Noah Hoffman placed 69th also having a tough day on his first crack at the grueling Davos course.

The 23-year-old Poltaranin had the 10th best time at the 1.6 km mark and increased his speed steadily remaining in the top 3 by mid-race holding off challenges by Russia’s Maxim Vylegzahnin who faded on the final leg and world cup leader, Alexander Legkov (RUS), who had the best intermediate time but lost it on the final leg losing to Poltaranin by 0.9s.

“Today I claimed my first World Cup victory and had my best race ever. I felt strong and my skis were very good as well. I did not change my summer training too much. My coach and I focused more on classic technique and also introduced some new elements to my training. On Monday we head to La Clusaz [France] where I would like to have a good result in 30km race,” said Poltaranin.

Lukas Bauer (Cze) surged in the latter part of the classic race to claim third edging out local Swiss star Dario Cologna by a mere 0.2s. Norway’s Petter Northug, at his first World Cup this season, was as high as 5th but faded near the end to finish 13th.

While the snow had stopped for the start of the men’s race, and the course was re-groomed following the women’s event earlier in the day, it was still a challenging day for the wax technicians with temperatures just below zero (-1C) on new snow. Canada’s Kershaw had nothing but praise for the Canadian wax crew.

“It was an interesting day in Davos – as the 50 or so centimeters of snow that fell over the past two + days made for some stressful times,” said Kershaw. “Yet, the course directors here in Davos are used to dealing with huge Swiss Alp dumps, and they did a great job getting the course ready – they even re-groomed directly after the women’s race – which helped things out for sure.”

“Our Canadian technicians did another outstanding job – staying calm and delivered the goods to get the job done,” he continued. “I can’t imagine that today was easy for them. They crank out such big hours working tirelessly for us, it’s really outstanding. Yves [Bilodeau head wax technician] is all heart and believes so much in Canadian skiing. And the tech I work with closely [Micke Book] is just such an outstanding guy as are all the guys – Joel K, Joel J. Jonathan, Peter Thor – none of us would be anywhere without their help.”

Kershaw had moved up to 15th by the 5km mark and made steady advances to sit in 10th by the 11.6km interval and still had something in the tank to take him to the finishline.

“Devon executed as planned and had energy at the end for a final kick,” commented Canadian head coach Justin Wadsworth. “He trained well in Livigno [Italy] and rested up before race day knowing the altitude and tough course. Conditions were crazy for waxing – people were trying zeros and hairies – and it looks like we hit the mark.”

The USA’s Freeman, who was just getting over a cold, was not far behind Kershaw but his tank ran dry after being passed by Vylegzahnin as he tried to stay with him. “It was a tough day for waxing but my skis were good and the course was mostly ok as they groomed it after the women’s race,” said Freeman.

“I was pacing well until Vylegzahnin passed me and I tried to match his speed but that did me in – with 4km to go I blew up and was pushing hard just to stay in the top 30. I caught a cold just after Kuusamo and yesterday was my first intensity training so it was tough to find my top gear today.” Freeman was confident he could have made the top 20 and will race the skate sprints on Sunday.

We caught up with Ivan Babikov who had his best race so far yet still falling short of what he’s capable of. “So far today was the best race  this season for me. Not exactly were I’d like to be but there more races ahead,” explained Babikov. “The conditions were tricky, especially for kick wax, but I think our wax techs did a very good job.”

“Davos is a very hard course with a lot of double polling, and I’m never good at that. Overall I think the team did pretty good. Devon had a very good one, 9th, and George [Gray] was only one second out of the points – we’re looking forward to La Clusaz.”

The USA’s Hoffman is taking his World Cup experience in stride, “It was just a tough day all together. I’m really struggling with my classic skiing right now, and didn’t show any improvement today. I’m a little disappointed – the conditions were tough but our coaches and techs did a great job with our skis. I’m looking forward to next week.”

US head coach Chris Grover knows his crew was disappointed but also knows they’re resilient. “Bird was doing well but lost it near the end still he held his composure and ended up with an average result. Noah had a tough day in difficult conditions with a couple of crashes and struggled to find his rhythm but he’s learning and gaining the experience he needs to move up. Andy [Newell] skipped today’s sufferfest to prepare for Sunday’s sprints which should be good for him and Kikkan.”

The stage is now set for Sunday’s freestyle sprints and the forecast is for colder weather… stay tuned for more coverage.

Full results HERE.