KUUSAMO, Finland (Nov. 26) - U.S. Ski Teamer Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) again demonstrated today why he is among the world’s elite sprinters turning in an impressive showing of sixth place in a deep field of 125 starters, while Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) finished first for the U.S. women in 33rd. Norway's John Kristian Dahl and Marit Bjoergen won the men's and women's 1.4/1.2k classic sprint.
Norwegian men and women dominated the top spots in today’s classic sprinting action and the second FIS World Cup race series in cold temperature in the single digits—here in this Lappish town above the Arctic Circle of 18,000 inhabitants. This kick’s off the first day of the FIS “mini-tour,” known as the Ruka Triple.
While Dahl and Bjoergen took top honors in the men’s 1.4k and women’s 1.2k classic sprints on the hilly track on the Kilarata race course, Newell turned in an outstanding performance to place sixth overall. Dahl sped to a time of 2:08.7 while Newell was 15.5 off the pace. Finnish crowds had plenty to cheer about with the skiing of Olympic bronze medalist Sami Jauhojaervi who trailed Dahl by 3.7 seconds.
Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) did not qualify for the finals and placed 67th overall, while Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) was 87th. Two other American men also failed to qualify, with Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI) in 116th and Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) finished 120th.
Newell, who finished eighth in the qualifying round felt good and said he was recovering well between the heats, saying “I like this course a lot, it’s a tough one with two big hills for the men, since I know the course well I was pretty much able to choose my own track, but by the second heat the wheels were coming off a little bit and I couldn’t quite get in there enough. It’s a good race for me, but I can do better, and that’s what I want to do. I can do better next week in Dusseldorf.” Newell added that the frosty temperatures made for harsh racing for everyone.
Cross Country Head Coach Chris Grover was pleased for Newell. “It is always quite an accomplishment to make the A finals and a sixth place in a World Cup is a great thing. We have done almost no anaerobic training so far this year, so it is good to see that he can still ski very fast in a qualification round. I know he was not satisfied with his performance, but it is still a long season and we will make the necessary adjustments.”
Olympic hero, Bjoergen took top honors in the women’s competition winning the final in 2:06.5, over Slovenia's Petra Majdic, a classic specialist. The top North American qualifier was Canadian Daria Gaiazova in 24th.
The top U.S. women was Dartmouth senior Sargent who finished 33rd overall, while Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) also failed to qualify in 42nd position. A course that historically has not produced her best results.
Morgan Arritola (Sun Valley, ID) finished in 91st place, while Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) also failed to qualify finishing 96th.
Despite a strong showing and nearly qualifying in her first series of world cup races Sargent was not happy with her performance. “I struggled getting going today during the qualifying so it was tough to be that close to the top 30, when I know I could have skied a lot better.”
Coach Grover was also excited about ISargent’s performance. “To be so close to qualification in her first World Cup sprint says that she is truly a talent for the future. Just a bit more experience at this level is all she needs to be cracking the top 30. I hope she is happy with her effort, from my point of view she is off to a great start.”
Saturday will see day two of the action in Finland, with a 10k individual classic race for the men, and a 5k classic for the women. More than 60,000 fans are expected to be on hand for the three-days of action in Kuusamo. Expect the U.S. Ski Team’s Freeman and Randall to lodge strong performances in tommorow’s classic races.
For complete results go to www.fis-ski.com.
November 26, 2010
Men's 1.4k Classic Sprint
1. John Kristian Dahl, Norway
2. Alexey Poltoranin,
3. Sami Jauhojaervi Finaland
4. Ola Vigen Hattestad, Norway
5. Renato Pasini, Italy
6. Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT
67. Simi Hamilton, Aspen, CO
87. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH
116. Chris Cook, Rhinelander, WI
120. Noah Hoffman, Aspen, CO
Women's 1.2k Classic Sprint
1. Marit Bjoergen, Norway
2. Petra Majdic, Slovenia
3. Astrid Jacobsen, Norway
4. Charlotte Kalla , Sweden
5. Madoka Natsumi, Japan
33. Ida Sargent, Orleans, VT
42. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage
91. Morgan Arritola, Sun Valley, ID
96. Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, V