WHISTLER, BC (Jan.17) - Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) and Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) led the U.S. in a World Cup cross country pursuit Saturday in Whistler at the site of the 2010 Olympics. Freeman was 18th and Stephen placed 24th. The races were won by Italy's Pietro Piller Cottrer and Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland.
Hot off a win in the 15K freestyle at U.S. Championships last week, Freeman turned in his second best World Cup performance this season. His previous best was 16th in a 15K classic race in Kuusamo, Finland.
In just her third World Cup start, Stephen turned in a solid performance following a third at this season's championships.
U.S. Cross Country Head Coach Peter Vordenberg said the results were lukewarm.
"We were really looking for a lot more today. Everything was in place to have a great race. Kris is in awesome shape and we're trying to think why it didn't go better," he said.
Vordenberg said the goal going into the Olympic primer was a top-5 finish for Freeman, whose best career result was a fourth at World Championships in 2003.
"We've been training here, doing camps here and really trying to make this our home venue," Vordenberg said.
For Stephen, a former alpine racer while growing up at Burke Mountain Academy, getting another World Cup under her belt was good experience.
"She hasn't done too many World Cups before. Today she did a really good skate race today and she's bound for fast skiing," Vordenberg said.
As for the 2010 courses, Vordenberg said they are not the hardest, but very fair.
"They're going to be great for spectators," he said.
Athletes prepare for more racing Sunday with the freestyle team sprints.
2009 VIESSMANN CROSS COUNTRY FIS WORLD CUP
Whistler, BC - Jan. 17, 2009
Men's 15K CL +15K FS
1. Pietro Piller Cottrer, Italy, 1:13:01.5
2. Jean Marc Gaillard, France, 1:13:16.5
3. Valerio Checchi, Italy, 1:13:16.8
4. David Hofer, Italy, 1:13:17.4
5. Emmanuel Jonnier, France, 1:13:18.0
18. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH, 1:15:53.4
22. James Southam, Anchorage, 1:16:39.6
25. Noah Hoffman, Aspen, CO, 1:17:32.7
27. Leif Zimmermann, Bridger Bowl, MT, 1:19:16.6
28. Brenton Knight, Anchorage, 1:19:25.5
30. Lars Flora, Bend, OR, 1:19:51.3
32. Brayton Osgood, OR, 1:21:14.1
34. Matthew Edward Liebsch, Plymouth, MN, 1:22:19.9
Women's 7.5K CL + 7.5K FS
1. Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland, 40:41.3
2. Marianna Longen, Italy, 40:48.9
3. Arianna Follis, Italy, 41:27.3
4. Valentina Shevchenko, Ukraine, 41:43.1
5. Stefanie Boehler, Germany, 41:49.1
24. Elizabeth Stephen, East Montpelier, VT, 44:24.2
25. Morgan Arritola, Sun Valley, ID, 44:25.7
30. Nicole Deyong, Sun Valley, ID, 45.04.1
32. Caitlin Compton, Minneapolis, 45:23.5
38. Kate Arduser, Dartmouth, NH, 46:48.1
39. Lindsey Dehlin, Minneapolis, 47:11.7
40. Tazlina Mannix, Talkeetna, AK, 47:22.6
41. Evelyn Dong, Middlebury, VT, 48:26.6
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For complete results click here.