DUSSELDORF, Germany (Oct. 27) - The 2008 Viessmann FIS Cross Country World Cup season opened Saturday with exciting head-to-head sprints before upwards of 100,000 spectators along the Rhine River. Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) was top American, finishing 19th.
"Andy got off to a good start [in quarterfinals], but said he made a tactical error," said Sprint Coach Chris Grover. "He tried to go outside on a corner after the start/finish area and a couple of guys [in the field of six] snuck inside, and then he was trying to make up 10, 15 meters the rest of the way.
"He's skiing well, but if you're not in the [top] two going into those last two corners it's so hard to overtake in those last 150 meters. He missed it by a couple of tenths." Fellow Olympian Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) was 43rd.
A wildly enthusiastic crowd watched German Josef Wenzel win on a day with temperatures in the low 50s. The skiers raced on machine-made snow which had been trucked in from outside the city and laid out in an 800-meter loop.
"So, now we get ready for [Sunday's team sprint] and build on today," added Grover. "Andy's skiing well. Torin didn't have a good today but he knows he's solid, too, so they're looking to do well in the team event."
Natalia Matveeva of Russia won the women's sprint. No U.S. women competed.
Opening weekend concludes Sunday with two-skier sprint relays; one skier races over the loop and tags his or her partner until each has completed six laps. Live timing is available, beginning at 8 a.m. ET via http://www.livetiming.com.
2008 VIESSMANN FIS CROSS COUNTRY WORLD CUP
Dusseldorf, GER - Oct. 27, 2007 (Season opener)
Men's 1.5K FR Sprint
(30 qualify for final heats; six make finals)
1. Josef Wenzel, Germany
2. Bjoern Lind, Sweden
3. John Kristian Dahl, Norway
4. Petter Borthug, Norway
5. Marcus Hellner, Sweden
6. Nikolay Morilov, Russia
19. Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT
43. Torin Koos, Leavenworth, WA
Women's 800-meter FR Sprint
1. Natalia Matveeva, Russia
2. Marit Bjoergen, Norway
3. Anna Dahlberg, Sweden
4. Arianna Follis, Italy
5. Seraina Mischol, Switzerland
6. Pirjo Muranen, Finland
(No U.S. women competed)
For complete results: