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It's Off to Sweden for the Next World Cup Race

Fri, Nov  17, 2006 - By US Ski Team

GALLVARE, Sweden (Nov. 15) - The cross country World Cup is set to shift into continuous mode this weekend as U.S. athletes arrived above the Arctic Circle Wednesday night.

Live timing will be available online at http://livetiming.usskiteam.com.

The U.S. Ski Team - Olympians Kris Freeman (Andover, NH), Andrew Johnson (Greensboro, VT), Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI), Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA), Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) and Sarah Konrad (Laramie, WY) - have been training for a week in Kiruna, about 100 kilometers further north. "It's been very good training. Like it's always been, it was cold and dark, but there was good snow. Everyone's healthy, so that's number one," he said.

Konrad, who is also a member of the U.S. biathlon squad, joins the team as the first U.S. athlete to compete in two Olympic winter sports when she raced cross country and also entered a couple of biathlon events last season. A strong skater, biathlon remains her focus, Vordenberg said, "but anytime she can get away, we'll be happy to have her with us."

The weekend schedule includes short distance races Saturday - men's 15K freestyle and women's 10K - with relays Sunday. The sprint returns during the Nordic Opening weekend Nov. 25-26 in Kuusamo, Finland.

Freeman, Johnson, Randall and Konrad will ski Saturday while the other three men are expected to race the 4x10K relay to give them a "good training workout in race conditions" before Kuusamo, the coach said.

Racing begins each day at 4:30 a.m. ET. For more details, go to http://www.topofeurope.com/worldcup/endefault.asp