KUUSAMO, Finland (Nov. 28)—Against the backdrop of unrelenting cold temperatures of -2 F, the U.S. Ski Team’s Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) continued to turn in yet another solid result Sunday at the Ruka Ski Area near Kuusamo. Freeman finished 12th in the men’s 15k free technique handicap pursuit race in the final event of this year’s "Ruka Triple" World Cup event, which was won by Czech skier Lukas Bauer in a six lap race on a 2.5k course.
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) again turned in the top U.S. performance in the women’s 10k finishing 20th. Norway’s Therese Johaug took her first World cup win of the season on the Kilparata racing course in a four lap race.
"I felt really good today, but missed a ride on the second lap that I’m kicking myself for," said Randall. "I ended up skiing most of the race alone, between two groups. I was tantalizingly close to the top 15 so that will be my goal going forward. I feel the best today out of the three races, so that gives me confidence for the tour."
On the frigid conditions Randall commented, "I survived the cold today with two layers of long underwear, two buffs, mittens, boot covers and tape on my face. The snow was pretty slow for skating.”
U.S. Ski Team Head Coach Chris Grover called it a very satisfying day as all U.S. athletes that raced from the U.S. moved up the results sheet.
“Kris was skiing as high as fifth with about a lap to go when another skier broke his pole as he entered the stadium," said Grover. Since the entire stadium was a no-coaching zone, it took a while to get him a new pole. The incident came right as the other men were ramping up the pace for the final lap. Had he not broken that pole, he would have finished in the top-10 for sure. He was very strong."
Russia’s Alexander Legkov and Norway’s Marit Bjoergen took overall honors in the "Ruka Triple." The first time three day mini stage race was similar to the Tour de Ski held in January. Sunday's finale was seeded based on times from the previous two days. Freeman finishd 12th and Randall 19th in the Ruka Triple over the three days.
This event marks the last time all three nordic skiing disciplines, cross country, ski jumping and nordic combined, will be together before the FIS World Nordic Skiing championships at Holmenkollen in Oslo this February.
The next stop on the FIS World Cup tour, will be along the banks of the Rhine River in Duesseldorf, Germany, where for the ninth time individual and team sprints will be held on Dec. 4-5.
Complete results are available at fisski.com. Fans can follow the U.S. Cross Country Team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ussanordic.
November 28, 2010
Men’s 15k Free Handicap Pursuit
1. Lukas Bauer, Czech Republic, 38.10.5
2. Ilia Chernousov, Russia, 38:20.9
3. Marcus Hellner, Sweden, 38:26.6
4. Maxim Vylegzhanin, Russia, 38:32.8
5. Nikolay Chebotko, Kazakhstan 38:34.5
12. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH, 38:47.4
34. Noah Hoffman, Aspen, CO, 39.36.2
Women’s 10k Free Handicap Pursuit
1. Therese Johaug, Norway, 29.24.2
2. Nicole Fessel, Germany, 29:28.3
3. Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland, 29:34.9
4. Marit Bjoergen, Norway, 29.35.9
5. Charlotte Kalla, Sweden, 29.38.3
20. Kikkan Randall,Anchorage, 30:27.4
39. Liz Stephen, E. Montpelier, VT, 30:54.4
48. Morgan Arritola, Fairfield, ID, 31:46.7