KUUSAMO, Finland (Dec. 1) - Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), sidestepping high-speed trouble, picked off his first World Cup top-5 of the season Saturday, finishing fourth in a 1.2K classic technique sprint.
"I'm happy, but it was just one of those days where I felt good enough and should have been on the podium. It's one thing to get fourth and you feel you could've been 15th, but today I should've been on the podium," the no-excuses Vermonter said.
Johan Kjoelstad of Norway led the six-man final heat for the third win of his career with Newell not far behind. He survived a tricky moment on the final uphill, he said, as two skiers - tired from charging the hill in the prologue and a couple of finals heats - blocked his way. Newell changed lanes twice, but he lost time on the three leaders.
"I almost went into the woods on the downhill. I was taking a very aggressive line around a fast corner, trying to lock into the track on the corner and the G forces almost threw me into the woods," he said. "Overall, I'd give myself an A-minus for the day. I'm feeling strong, feeling like my classic sprinting is where it needs to be."
Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA), coming back from a cold, which slowed him throughout the week, was 22nd.
Petra Majdic of Slovenia won the women's sprint ahead of Astrid Jacobsen, Norway's sprint world champion. Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) was 16th.
"It was a pretty good day," Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said. "Andy got stuck behind a couple of dudes at a key moment on that last uphill, but he skied well. Kikkan skied well, too, and for being sick most of the week, Torin skied 98 percent of really well and then died. But Torin laid it out there, and for someone only a little while out of bed, it was an outstanding effort."
The men have a 15K CL race Saturday while the women face a 10K event.
2008 VIESSMANN CROSS COUNTRY WORLD CUP
Kuusamo, FIN - Dec. 1, 2007
Men's 1.2K Classic Sprint (6 made finals)
1. Johan Kjoelstad, Norway
2. Emil Joensson, Swedn
3. Mats Larsson, Sweden
4. Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT
5. Nikita Kriukov, Russia
6. Kalle Lassila, Finland
22. Torin Koos, Leavenworth, WA
59. Lars Flora, Anchorage, AK
72. Chris Cook, Rhinelander, WI
Women's 1.2K CL Sprint (6 made finals
1. Petra Majdic, Slovenia
2. Astrid Jacobsen, Norway
3. Alena Prochazkova, Slovakia
4. Natalia Matveeva, Russia
5. Madoka Natsumi, Japan
6. Evgenia Shapovalova, Russia
16. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, AK
Click here for complete results