FALUN, Sweden (March 20) - Germans Axel Teichmann and Claudia Nystad each took the win Friday during the men's 3.3 and women's 2.5K prologue at World Cup finals in Sweden. Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) was the top U.S. finisher, taking 31st.
Friday's race was a unique combination of short distance racing and a hill climb that those in Sweden refer to as "the murder hill" because of its difficulty level.
"It was a cool race, but it's pretty grueling," U.S. Cross Country Coach Chris Grover said.
The challenge presented by the hill climb meant that athletes needed to pace themselves or face being too burnt out to finish strong and, according to Grover, Randall did just that.
"She felt like she skied a pretty smart race. She was 44th at the first split and ended up 31st. She started out more conservatively and moved up at the end of the race, so she felt pretty good about it," Grover said.
In the men's race Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) finished 68th, followed closely by Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) in 71st.
"The guys skied ok. They both started a little fast and lactated up too early in the race. But, it's hard not to. You had to start conservatively," Grover said. "The guy who won was in 64th when he reached the top of the hill. Down the hill he was in first.
"So our guys started too fast. It was definitely a distance race. All the distance guys were at the front and the sprinters were at the back."
Now, the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team looks ahead to the duathlon on Saturday where half the race will be in classic technique and the other half in skate.
"Everyone is working on recovery and taking care of themselves as they get ready to race again soon," Grover said.
2009 VIESSMANN CROSS COUNTRY FIS WORLD CUP
Falun, Sweden - March 20, 2009
1. Axel Teichmann, Germany, 8:33.1
2. Dario Cologna, Switzerland, 8:33.3
3. Martin Koukal, Czech Republic, 8:38.4
4. Tobias Angerer, Germany, 8:39.8
5. Rene Sommerfeldt, Germany, 8:40.4
68. Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT, 9:09.4
71. Torin Koos, Leavenworth, WA, 9:12.0
1. Claudia Nystad, Germany, 7:12.5
2. Charlotte Kalla, Sweden, 7:15.2
3. Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland, 7:15.5
4. Riitta-Liisa Roponen, Finland, 7:19.7
5. Petra Majdic, Slovenia, 7:22.7
31. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, 7:40.9
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For complete results click here.