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Cross-Country skiers test summer shape

Wed, Aug  26, 2009 - By FIS

Saku SuverullIn the southern hemisphere, the winter competition season is in full swing. Last weekend, the FIS Australia-New Zealand Cup (ANC) moved to Perisher Valley. While Australian Ben Sim put up a tough fight, Thomas Diezig from Switzerland was the dominant male athlete, winning both of the two competitions. In the ladies’ events Katherine Calder (NZE) cleaned up and has now joined Diezig in the lead in the overall ANC standings.

Besides on-snow competitions, Cross-Country skiers tend to leverage various performance tests in the summer for getting an idea of where they stand. In the past two weeks, several top athletes competed in interesting dryland events.

In Aure and Kristiansand (NOR), the famous Toppidrettsveka show race took place from 6th-8th August. Pirjo Muranen (FIN) and Oystein Pettersen (NOR) showed the best overall performances in roller skiing, mountain biking and running among an elite starter field. Muranen captured the four-stage competition clearly with 100 points ahead of Charlotte Kalla (SWE), while Anna Olsson (SWE) and Evi Sachenbacher (GER) tied for third.

On the men’s side it was a close fight but in the end the local hero Oystein Pettersen held his lead and finished 19 points ahead of Jean Marc Gaillard (FRA) and 32 points ahead of Jesper Modin (SWE). (Detailed results).

The traditional Saku Suverull races were held in the World Cup town of Otepää (EST) last weekend. With Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) and Petter Northug (NOR) two top class athletes signed in on the winner list. The reigning World Cup champion, Justyna Kowalczyk, dominated both roller ski races – the prologue and distance – and finished 1:20 min ahead of Russian Anastasia Kasukul.

In the men’s race, it was tight. After the victory by local hero Aivar Rehemaa (EST) in the prologue, Petter Northug attacked in the pursuit race to win just 5.2 seconds ahead of Sami Jauhojärvi (FIN). 2009 world champion from Liberec Andrus Veerpalu (EST) finished third. (More details).

Includes contributions by Sandra Spitz and Finn Marsland