OBERHOF, Germany (Jan. 3) – The U.S. Ski Team's Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) finished eighth in a classic sprint at the Tour de Ski's third stage Sunday in Oberhof, Germany, gaining valuable points in the FIS World Cup sprint standings.
He barely missed the final group of six for the third time this season, but there are encouraging signs for Newell.
Sunday's finish was the fourth top-8 finish this season for Newell, who lost a semifinal heat won by eventual winner Eldar Roenning (Norway). He fell short of his season's second final group after reaching that goal at his last stop in Rogla, Slovenia.
"It's always good to be in the top 10, but it's not a good day unless I'm in the final," Newell said. "I think I was feeling a little bit tired today. I was slow in the qualifying rounds and picked it up a bit for the heats."
A difficult quarterfinal heat that featured both lucky losers pushed Newell to his limit, said coach Chris Grover.
Newell fell behind early in the semifinals and was unable to make up enough ground.
"Andy's always a little bit disappointed when he doesn't make the final group, but at the same time, I know he's tired from the last couple days," Grover said.
The 25 year old, who is skipping the ConocoPhillips U.S. Cross Country Championships in Anchorage, marked the third time in three Classic sprints crossing the finish eighth or higher – boosting his hopes for Vancouver.
The icing on the cake, after a five-hour drive Sunday night, is that more World Cup points might await Newell with a 1.2K skate sprint in Prague, Czech Republic, on Monday.
Monday's event will be the last stop on the Tour de Ski for Newell, who will train for 10 days before his next World Cup action in Estonia.
The Tour de Ski will air on Universal Sports TV at 7:00 p.m. EST Sunday and Monday, and again noon on Tuesday with commentary from Peter Graves.
2010 Viessman FIS Tour de Ski
Oberhof, Germany – Jan. 3, 2010
Men – 1.6K
1. Eldar Roenning, Norway, 3:55.0
2. Ivan Alypov, Russia, +0.9
3. Petter Northug, Norway, +2.1
4. Axel Teichmann, Germany, +3.1
5. Teodor Peterson, Sweden, +9.7
8. Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT
Women – 1.6K
1. Petra Majdic, Slovenia, 4:18.8
2. Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland, +2.1
3. Aino Kaisa Saarinen, Finland, +3.6
4. Arianna Follis, Italy, +9.3
5. Kristin Stoermer Steira, Norway, +10.6