GAELLIVARE, Sweden (Nov. 21) - The U.S. Ski Team’s Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) and Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) had notable legs Sunday in the 4-person mixed technique relays in the FIS Cross Country World Cup at Gaellivare. Norway won the women’s 4x5k relay while Sweden clinched the win in the men’s 4x10k.
In the men's race, Sweden took home the victory in the 4x10k relay with an overall time of 1:29:56.30. Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) led off for the U.S., finishing 10th on the first leg 15 seconds behind the leaders, handing off to Freeman. Freeman rocketed through the field with the third fastest leg time, putting the Americans into a strong fifth position.
"Kris skied a really fast classic leg," said Cross Country Coach Pete Vordenberg. "Next weekend we are going to one of the best venues for him. This shows that he's definitely in shape and ready to go for a really good finish in Kuusamo."
Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) took over for the U.S. on the third leg continuing a solid weekend for the young skier, dropping only one spot to sixth. The U.S.'s anchor leg, Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI), crossed the line for a combined time of 1:33:35.90 in 17th.
Olympic champ Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland took the opening leg lead for the women, but it was all Norway after that as the Norwegians took an easy victory in 50:16.00, nearly 30 seconds ahead of second place Sweden. Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) skied the first leg before tagging Randall, who posted the fourth fastest time, 13:18.30, in the second leg picked up four places.
"Kikkan is picking up a step ahead of where she left off last year," said Cross Country Coach Pete Vordenberg.
Morgan Arritola (Fairfield, ID) took over for the U.S. on the third leg tagging Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) for the anchor leg of the race. It was an exciting finish for the U.S. as Stephen, who showed a solid performance with the seventh fastest leg time of 12:24.70, crossed the line for a photo finish with Japan just ahead to move the U.S. up four spots on her segment to 13th with a time of 53:09.20.
"It's really cool for Liz to have some good races because last year was really tough," said Vordenberg. "It's kind of a relief for her to see the skier that she was last year is not the skier that she really is. She can be really fast."
The World Cup circuit's next stop is Kuusamo, Finland Nov. 26-28 with a three-event weekend including the opening sprints of the year.
November 21, 2010
Men's Classic 4x10k Mixed Technique Relay
1. Sweden, 1:29:56.30
2. Russia I, 1:29:57.10
3. Norway I, 1:30:44.20
4. Switzerland, 1:31:00.40
5. Russia II, 1:31:31.90
17. United States, 1:33:35.90
Women's Classic 4x5k Mixed Technique Relay
1. Norway, 50:16.00
2. Sweden, 50:42.80
3. Italy, 51:12.22
4. Germany, 51:13.80
5. Finland, 51:24.33
13. United States, 53:09.20