|Scott 9th, Kershaw Strong Again in Sprint World Cup|
Lahti, FIN - Beckie Scott led the Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team into the final period of the World Cup circuit after finishing ninth in a sprint race in Lahti, Finland on Saturday. But perhaps the real story of the day was yet another stellar spring from rising star Devon Kershaw. Kershaw once again confirmed his place among the best sprinters in the world by finishing 17th, just over half of a second from qualifying for the elimination rounds. With his result Kershaw moved into 44th place in the overall sprint World Cup and could move into the sacred red group for sprinting this season if his top form continues.
Scott, a Vermilion, Alta. native, qualified for the round of 16 athletes competing in the head-to-head heats in ninth spot with a time of three minutes 06.45 seconds, but was knocked out in the first heat after making a technical error.
"I made a little error and it cost me, but I think it is a good sign that I was able to maintain my speed with the best," said the 2002 Olympic gold medallist, who added the conditions were cold and perfect for racing. "This is our ninth week on the road and we are getting a little tired, but I definitely want to podium at least once before we call it a season and I have two more weeks to do that."
Sweden's Lina Andersson was the fastest woman on skis today. After leading the pack in qualifications, Andersson sprinted her way through the heats to the top step on the podium. Two Finnish skiers battled it out for second and third place. Kirsi Voelimaa grabbed the silver medal, while Virpi Kuitunen settled for the bronze.
Beckie Scott's teammates, Sara Renner of Canmore, Alta. and Milaine Theriault of St. Quentin, N.B., also hit the start line. Renner narrowly missed qualifying for the round of 16, finishing in 17th spot, while Theriault was 24th. No American women were competing.
Meanwhile, Norway absolutely dominated the men's sprint in Finland, not only completing the podium sweep, but also grabbing the top-five spots in the competition. When the battle finally came to a close, it was Boerre Naess who came out on top. His teammates, Tor Arne Hetland and Eldar Roenning, finished second and third respectively.
Other Canadian men's results included George Grey of Rossland, B.C. in 50th, Chris Jeffries of Chelsea, Quebec in 53rd and Drew Goldsack of Red Deer, Alta. in 55th. The US ski team was also in action today with dissapointing results. Torin Koos and Andrew Newell finished 40th and 41st respectively, while Zach Simons and Chad Giese finished 59th and 60th.
"It was a pretty good day for Beckie (Scott) and Sara (Renner), and very good for Devon (Kershaw) so we are happy," said Dave Wood, head coach, Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team. "Beckie always likes to have a run at the podium, but I think the entire team is getting a little road weary, so it is difficult for them to be at their best at this time of year."
The Canadian squad will wax up the skis again on Sunday when the men and women compete in a 15- and 10-kilometre skate races.
Complete results available at http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=14103.
World Cup Women's Classic Sprint - Lahti, Finland
1.Lina Andersson, SWE
2. Kirsi Voelimaa, FIN
3. Virpi Kuitunen, FIN
4. Anna Dahlberg, SWE
5. Claudia Kuenzel, GER
9. Beckie Scott, Vermilion, Alta.
17. Sara Renner, Canmore, Alta.
24. Milaine Theriault, St. Quentin, N.B.
World Cup Men's Classic Sprint - Lahti, Finland
1.Boerre Naess, NOR
2. Tor Arne Hetland, NOR
3. Eldar Roenning, NOR
4. Jens Arne Svartedal, NOR
5. Ola Vigen Hattested, NOR
17. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont.
50. George Grey, Rossland, B.C.
53. Chris Jeffries, Chelsea, Que.
55. Drew Goldsack, Red Deer, Alta
With contribution from Cross Country Canada
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