Monday, August 29, 2005 - Results
Australians Dominate 2005 Kangaroo Hoppet

The fifteenth Kangaroo Hoppet, Australia's international ski marathon, was held today in Falls Creek in north-east Victoria. Australia's Ben Sim became the first ever junior skier to win the 42km Freestyle event, ahead of Raul Olle from Estonia and Francois Soulie from France. Clare-Louise Brumley made it an Australian double, claiming back to back wins in the women's 42km race.

The Kangaroo Hoppet is the opening race of the 2005/2006 Worldloppet series of ski marathons, which are held in 14 countries around the world. More than 1000 competitors from 22 countries took part in the event. Conditions for the event were near perfect, with a good freeze overnight keeping the tracks hard and fast, and brilliant sunshine seeing many competitors and spectators sporting T-shirts.

The international field in the men's event was tougher this year, with Olle one of the world's leading cross country marathon skiers and a former winner of the Vasaloppet in Sweden. At the 15km mark the leading group was down to four athletes - Olle, Soulie and four-time Hoppet winner Ben Derrick from Falls Creek - when Sim made his decisive move with a sprint after the "Paralyser", the longest hill on the course. Soulie was caught taking a drink and Derrick tried to bridge the gap with Olle on his tail, however after the initial gap Sim put in a big effort to consolidate his lead. Soulie rejoined Derrick and Olle at the start of the second 21km loop, but by the time they started to work together Sim was gone. Soulie turned up the screws slowly the second time up the Paralyser, taking Olle with him and dropping Derrick. Sim went on to win by nearly a minute and a half in the time of 1:38:33, with Olle overtaking Soulie on the last downhill one kilometre from the finish to get up for second place by 13 seconds.

Twenty-year old Sim from Cooma in NSW is a scholarship holder of the NSW Institute of Sport, and is one of Australia's leading cross country skiing contenders for selection to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino.

Brumley escaped from the other female competitors right from the start, and went on to win in the time of 1:56:57 over 6 minutes ahead of second place. The battle for second place see-sawed on the first lap, with Melvey hauled in by Phillips and Bottomley over the top of the course at about the 18km mark. Bottomley's better downhill skills gave her a good gap over Phillips as they came through for the second lap, and the other women were unable to bring back the gap. Melvey caught Phillips again early in the second lap, and went to take third place just over a minute behind Bottomley.

Twenty-seven year old Brumley is from Templestowe in Melbourne, and has based herself at Mt Beauty this winter to train at the National Team Training Centre at Falls Creek. Along with Sim, Brumley and five other Australian athletes are members of the Australian Shadow Team aiming to qualify for Torino 2006.

The 42km event was also the final race in the 2005 FIS Australia / New Zealand Cup, the only Continental Cup series in the southern hemisphere. With her second place today Esther Bottomley has managed to clinch victory in the series by just 20 points, with 320 points ahead of Clare-Louise Brumley's 300. Ben Sim won the men's series easily, with 380 points ahead well clear from Mark Raymond with 215 points.

French skier Gregoire Lebel leads the 2005 Kangaroo Hoppet at Falls Creek in Australia

2005 Kangaroo Hooppet Results

Men's 42km Freestyle
1 Ben Sim AUS 1:38:33
2 Raul Olle EST 1:40:01
3 Francois Soulie FRA 1:40:14
4 Ben Derrick AUS 1:41:15
5 Cameron Morton AUS 1:44:50
6 Mark Raymond AUS 1:45:44
7 Andrew Mock AUS 1:47:05
8 Andrew Wynd AUS 1:48:07
9 Gaber Lah SLO 1:48:25
10 Martin Baanerud NOR 1:48:27

Women's 42km Freestyle
1 Clare-Louise Brumley AUS 1:56:57
2 Esther Bottomley AUS 2:03:40
3 Camille Melvey AUS 2:04:48
4 Belinda Phillips AUS 2:09:29
5 Robyn Rodd AUS 2:16:45
6 Jane Scheer AUS 2:20:24
7 Rhiannon Palmer AUS 2:22:30
8 Irene Dunn AUS 2:22:51
9 Kerryn Rim AUS 2:26:32
10 Michele McFarlaine AUS 2:28:48

Men's 21km Australian Birkebeiner
1 Ben Koons NZE 51:23
2 Neil van der Ploeg AUS 53:01
3 Alex Almoukov AUS 53:21

Women's 21km Australian Birkebeiner
1 Sally Cunningham AUS 1:05:37
2 Chloe McConville AUS 1:05:50
3 Felice Beitzel AUS 1:09:44

Men's 7km Joey Hoppet
1 Callum Watson AUS 14:42
2 Chis Cook AUS 15:30
3 Andrew Kovacs AUS 15:45

Women's 7km Joey Hoppet
1 Jaffa Wither AUS 16:47
2 d'Arcy Baxter AUS 17:22
3 Sarah Slattery AUS 18:02

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