Saturday, February 19, 2005 - Results
Scott Just Off Podium in World Championship Pursuit

Oberstdorf, GER - It appears Canada's Beckie Scott's strategy of taking the first half of the season off to rest her body for this week's World Championships is paying dividends. The 2002 Olympic gold medallist skied a brilliant race on Saturday to finish fourth in the women's 7.5 kilometre pursuit.

The Vermilion, Alta. native, who has traditionally struggled in the long pursuit event, overcame a huge barrier to complete the challenging German layout in a time of 42 minutes 51.9 seconds. The pursuit race combines 7.5 kilometres of classic skiing with an additional 7.5 kilometres of skate skiing. Athletes enter a transition area between the two legs with the clock still running.

"I am really happy with the way I skied today," said Scott, who was not planning to compete in the event at the beginning of the week as she is battling a cold. "I was conservative in the classic leg, but realized I had great skis today that were going to take me to the top of the pack, and I was able to stay with the top-four for the entire race."

The first two kilometres of the world championship track is all uphill with steep climbing. Scott realized she was going to challenge for a spot on the podium after completing the climbing portion of the event with the fastest women in the world, setting her up for the quick downhill portion of the course.

"Knowing that you have fast skis early in the race is such a huge boost," said Scott. "I was able to climb early really well and stay in front of the pack. I thought it was going to come down to the wire, but I got passed late by Kristin (Steira Stoermer) and knew I wouldn't be able to catch her as she was skiing fast. I have always had bad luck in this event so it was exciting to have a great result."

While Scott threatened for the podium, it was Russia's Julija Tchepalova winning gold to claim her second world championship medal in as many races. Tchepalova, who won a silver medal in Thursday's 10-kilometre free technique, clocked a time of 42:16.8. Marit Bjoergen of Norway, the odds-on favourite to win the pursuit, took second place with a time of 42:32.5, while her teammate, Kristin Steira Stoermer locked up third at 42:42.7

Three other Canadian women also suited up on Saturday. Two-time Olympians, Sara Renner of Canmore, Alta., and Milaine Theriault of St. Quentin, N.B., also skied extremely well in the pursuit. Renner skied with the top-15 for most of the race, but ran out of gas in the final two kiometres to finish with a pack in 23rd (44:44.9), while Theriault also tired out in the final skate, losing valuable time and crossing the line in 35th (45:32.6). Tara Whitten of Edmonton rounded out the Canadian contingent in 54th spot at 51:03.6.

Women's World Championship 15km Pursuit
1.Julija Tchepalova, RUS, 42:16.8
2. Marit Bjoergen, NOR, 42:32.5
3. Kristin Steira Stoermer, NOR, 42:42.7
4. Beckie Scott, Vermilion, Alta., CAN, 42:51.9
5. Gabriella Paruzzi, ITA, 42:55.1
23. Sara Renner, Canmore, Alta., 44:44.9
35. Milaine Theriault, St. Quentin, N.B., 45:32.6
54. Tara Whitten, Edmonton, 51:03.6

Source: Cross Country Canada

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