|Roycroft Finishes with Strong 31st place for Canada in Worlds 50km|
Oberstdorf, GER - The Norwegian men continued their dominance of the 2005 Nordic World Ski Championships after sweeping the podium in the men's 50 kilometre classic mass start on Sunday in Oberstdorf, Germany.
Frode Estil set the pace on the challenging German layout at two hours 30 minutes 10.1 seconds. Estil narrowed out his teammates, Anders Aukland and Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset, in a sprint to the finish. Aukland finished .7 seconds behind in the silver medal position at 2:30:10.8, while Hjelmeset completed the Norwegian sweep finishing in third at 2:30:11.5.
While three Canadian men started Sunday's mass start, the final event of the 2005 Nordic World Ski Championships, Dan Roycroft of Port Sydney, Ont. was the only man left standing after showcasing his best performance ever nearly three hours later. Roycroft completed the treacherous German track, which includes more than 1,900 metres of steep hills, in 31st spot after clocking a time of 2:31:26.5, just over a minute behind the frontrunners.
"That was by far the best race of my life," said Roycroft, who said heavy snowfall and poor weather conditions prevented anyone from pulling away. "The body felt really good today and I was so comfortable."
Roycroft, who turned 27 years old this week, skied with the lead pack for 45 kilometres, but was unable to keep up with the leaders in an extremely fast final five kilometres.
"I was able to hang in there until the final climb, but I knew the leaders were waiting to attack," said Roycroft following the race. "I was looking around and seeing all the top athletes in the world around me throughout the race, and questioning what I was doing there. But that has been the story of this World Championships. Our whole team is like that now, and we know we can compete with the best, and the podium is now within our sights."
Chris Jeffries of Chelsea, Que. and Drew Goldsack of Red Deer, Alta. also started the race, but were lapped and pulled off the course.
The Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team enjoyed a successful stint at the World Championships. The team is bringing home the nation's first ever World Championship medal which Sara Renner of Canmore, Alta. won in the women's sprint. Beckie Scott of Vermilion, Alta. also nearly found herself on the podium in the women's pursuit when she finished fourth, while the men's duo of Devon Kershaw of Sudbury, Ont. and George Grey of Rossland, B.C. posted the country's best-ever performance in a men's sprint relay when they finished sixth on Friday.
The Canadian team will now head to Finland to complete the third and final segment of the World Cup circuit before returning home at the end of March.
Complete results available at http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=15418&cal_suchsector=CC.
World Championships Men's 50 Kilometre Classic Mass Start, Oberstdorf, Germany 1. Frode Estil, NOR, 2:30:10.1
2. Anders Aukland, NOR, 2:30:10.8
3. Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset, NOR, 2:30:11.5
4. Andrus Veerpalu, EST, 2:30:15.1
5. Mathias Fredriksson, SWE, 2:30:18.3
31. Dan Roycroft, Port Sydney, Ont., 2:31:26.5
DNF. Chris Jeffries, Chelsea, Que.
DNF. Drew Goldsack, Red Deer, Alta
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