DUSSELDORF, Germany (Oct. 28) - Americans Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) and Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) overcame a mid-race spill Sunday to finish ninth in a freestyle technique, team sprint race on opening weekend of the 2008 World Cup season. WCSN.com has the race available for on-demand viewing.
Thobias Fredricksson and Peter Larsson of Sweden won the race in which skiers compete in tag-team format, one athlete racing over the 1.5K course before tagging his teammate. Norway's Johan Kjoelstad and Tor Arne Hetland were second.
"Andy and Torin were right in it until midway through the middle lap when someone went down in front of Torin," U.S. Sprint Coach Chris Grover said, "and he had no chance to react. Torin got up immediately, but everybody had kept rolling, so he had 30 or 40 meters to close...at that point, they couldn't catch up.
"The guys closed some of the distance because they're in great condition and they never give up, but that fall took 'em out of the race."
Newell and Koos had good words for the return of former Swedish World Cup racer Larry Poromaa as waxing head technician. "They had unbelievably good skis. Andy said he'd never felt as good in a team sprint before," according to Grover.
The best U.S. finish in a World Cup team sprint was eighth by Justin Wadsworth - now a U.S. Ski Team coach - and Marcus Nash in Asiago, Italy, during the 2000 season. Nash and Wadsworth also won a two-man sprint at the 2002 Winter Goodwill Games in Lake Placid as Nash out-stretched Norway's Ola Rygg in a photo finish.
Swedish skiers won the women's race Sunday; no U.S. women competed. Team sprint results do not count in the individual World Cup standings although they are calculated in Nations Cup standings.
The next World Cup races are distance events Nov. 24-25 in Beitostolen, Norway. Newell and Koos will return from Dusseldorf for testing and training before returning with teammates Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI) and Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) to Europe in mid-November to prepare for the next sprints Dec. 1 in Kuusamo, Finland.
For complete results of the Dusseldorf weekend: