|Christmas Arrives Early for Canada's Cross-Country Skiers at World Cup and Haywood NorAm Events|
Ramsau, AUT - Canada’s Sara Renner overcame a terrible start, which resulted in a crash and getting trampled on, to post her best distance race result of the season, finishing 16th at a World Cup event in Ramsau, Austria on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Canmore, Alta. native, who has been the lone Canadian woman on the Cross-Country Skiing World Cup this season, quickly bounced back from her rough start to make up nearly 30 spots and finish the 15-kilometre free technique mass start with a time of 42 minutes 02.9 seconds.
"Christmas came early today, and I am extremely happy with this result," said the two-time Olympian, who will be hopping on a plane Sunday to return to Canada for the holiday break. "I usually struggle in this event so it was nice to have fast skis today and do well. I am really happy with my success this far. I progressively have gotten stronger, and was able to take the blows with the good times. I am excited for the second half of the season - especially with World Championships coming up."
Estonia’s Kristina Smigun set the pace at 40:07.3 to win the gold medal. Smigun was joined on the podium with Norway’s Kirstin Steira Stoermer, who won the silver medal with a time of 40:36.3, while Russia’s Evgenia Medvedeva-Abruzova rounded out the top three at 40:51.8.
Canada’s George Grey of Rossland, B.C. also suited up in the men’s 30-kilometre mass start on Saturday. The 25-year-old World Cup rookie was pulled from the race after getting lapped, and did not finish.
Meanwhile, back in Canada, Renner and Grey’s teammates were battling it out in a Haywood NorAm event, the nation’s premiere development race series, at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Que. The rest of the Canadian contingent was competing in a 10- and 15-kilometre classic race for men and women respectively.
Chris Jeffries of Chelsea, Que. grabbed his third gold medal in Quebec, winning the men’s 15-kilometre classic event with a time of 38:39.4.
"I have been getting increasingly stronger in training every day since June and feeling better and more comfortable on my skis than ever before. It is an awesome start to the season, said Jeffries."
The men’s competition was a tight race to the wire. Joining Jeffries on the podium was Devon Kershaw of Sudbury, Ont., who won the silver medal with a time of 38:40.3, nipping Adam Kates of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. out at the line. Kates finished third, just .1 second (38:40.4) behind Kershaw.
Three-time Olympian, Milaine Theriault of St. Quentin, N.B., also made her third trip to the top of the podium in a week. Theriault, who is continuing the comeback trail to the World Cup after having a baby, handily won the women’s 10-kilometre classic race with a time of 29:24.8. Tasha Betcherman of Thunder Bay, Ont. was the next fastest skier across the line, claiming the silver medal with a time of 29:47.7, while Madeleine Williams of Edmonton was third at 29:49.1.
Cross Country Canada is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada. Its 45,000 members are athletes, coaches and officials, including members of the Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team and Canadian Disabled Cross-Country Ski Team. Cross-country skiing is Canada's optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually.
FOR COMPLETE WC RESULTS: http://www.fis-ski.com/
Top-Five World Cup Results Women:
1. Kristina Smigun, EST, 40:07.3
2. Kirstin Steira Stoermer, NOR, 40:36.3
3. Evgenia Medvedeva-Abruzova, RUS, 40:51.8
4. Valentina Shevchenko, UKR, 40:59.6
5. Claudia Kuenzel, GER, 41:02.7.
16. Sara Renner, Canmore, Alta., 42:02.9
Haywood NorAm Results: complete results - http://www.zone4.ca/
Top-Five Men’s Results:
1. Chris Jeffries, Chelsea, Que., 38:39.4
2. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont., 38:40.3
3. Adam Kates, Thunder Bay, Ont., 38:40.4
4. Dan Roycroft, Port Sydney, Ont., 38:40.9
5. Robin McKeever, Calgary, 38:54.1.
Top-Five Women’s Results:
1. Milaine Theriault, St. Quentin, N.B., 29:24.8
2. Tasha Betcherman, Thunder Bay, Ont., 29:47.7
3. Madeleine Williams, Edmonton, 29:49.1
4. Perianne Jones, Almonte, Ont., 29:52.9
5. Christine Bisson, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Que., 30:13.0.
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