|Gaiazova and Babikov Take Canadian Classic Titles|
The Caledonia Ski Club in Prince George, BC hasn't had many breaks over the past month. The usually snowy Otway Nordic Center, home of the club, has been hit with just about everything but snow since good early season conditions arrived, including heavy rain and warm weather. Most clubs would have given up on hosting the National Championships, and it came pretty close that, but thanks to a monumental effort by the city of Prince George a handfull of volunteers, snow was painstakingly moved in by truck from 80km north of the race site. All things considered, racing conditions were ideal for today's classic races.
Former Russian citizens Ivan Babikov and Dasha Gaiazova took full advantage of the fast conditions at Otway to capture the men's and women's Canadian titles respectively. The junior titles went to Brent McMurtry and Perianne Jones, who booked their tickets to the World Junior Championships in Finland at the end of the month as a result.
Babikov comleted the men's 7.5km classic race, one lap of a 2.5km course and one lap of a 5km course, in a time of 19 minutes and 6.9 seconds despite a fall on one of the challenging downhill. Dan Roycroft, just 48 hours from a 31st place in the 50km classic at the World Championships in Germany and 30 minutes off the place, finished second just 10.9 seconds behind Babikov. David Nighbor rook third place a further 6.9 seconds back, also finishing as the top under 23 athlete.
Dasha Gaiazova won the women's 5km classic race in a time of 15 minutes and 5.5 seconds, beating second place finisher and top junior Perianne Jones by 26.4 seconds. Amanda Ammar, also a junior skier, took third place a further 9.3 seconds back.
The junior boys 7.5km classic was won by Georg Jalkotzy. The junior girls 5km race was won by Sara Hewitt. The juvenile boys 5km classic was won by Evan Bruce, and the juvenile girls 5km classic was won by Heidi Widmer.
Complete results are available at http://zone4.ca/results.asp?id=572.
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