Sunday, March 20, 2005 - Results
Smigun, Elofsson Win, Wadsworth 11th

Kristina Smigun of Estonia beat Italian Stefania Belmondo by less than one second to win the women's 10k skate World Cup in Lahti on Saturday. The world cup leader Neumannova was 4th and Julija Tschepalova did not ski.

Canada's new Olympic stars were also on the start line in Lahti and showing strong post-Olympics results. Beckie Scott finished 18th, 1:52.4 behind Smigun and Sara Renner was 25th, a further 19.3 seconds behind Scott.

Kristina Smigun tested positive for steriods in an A-sample taken on December 12th in Brusson, Italy. She was later cleared when her B-sample was reported negative.

Sweden's Per Elofsson was again "at home" at almost sea level altitudes, and won the men's 15 k skate World Cup. Being sick at high altitude destroyed Elofsson's chances at the Olympic Games in Soldier Hollow, and he didn't make the podium even once.

The race turned into a battle between Per Elofsson and Thomas Alsgaard. Alsgaard looked like he would catch Elofsson in the middle of the race but Elofsson put more time on him in the end. Norwegian youngster Tore Ruud Hofstad continued to impress, placing 3rd. The Norwegian has been coached by Sweden's Mikke Palssson and Christer Soergaard on the U23 or C team and has done well this season. He was also racing against the Canadian team at the Under 23 Championships last month in Val di Fiemme, where his best result was 3rd. The race was a good one for the Swedish team, who also placed Spedergren in 4th. Czech Lukas Bauer continued his strong Olympic form tying for 4th.

American Justin Wadsworth also continued his team's Olympic high with an 11th place finish, just 1:06.6 behind Elofsson. Kris Freemand was 31st 1:39.1 behind the leader and Andrew Johnson was 33rd, 1:4.5 behind the lead. Carl Swenson was 39th, 2:06.3 behind the lead. Justin Freeman was 57th. No Canadian men raced.

"I started to breath again. It is nice to be back in low altitude," Elofsson smiled at the press conference. Elofsson said he was little tired after getting back from the Olympics, and due to that, he was surprised about his good performance today. "After being 7 weeks in high altitude, skiing is much easier here. I had some difficulties to get to the race speed," said Alsgaard, who finished second, 17.1 seconds behind the Swede. Norway's Tore Ruud Hofstad, 22, was the big surprise of the race. He finished 42.8 seconds behind Elofsson. Unlike so many Norwegian cross country skiers, Hofstad does better in free technique. The Lillehammer native studies economics. "I was two times third in U23-pre championships in Val di Fiemme in February. In 1999 I won silver medal in 30 k free in Junior WM. I was fourth in the Nove Mesto World Cup this season", Hofstad told of his achievements at the international press. Hofstad was close to making the olympic team in Norway. "I tried to keep up good speed from the beginning, and just go and ski my own race. I was not thinking about the podium places" Hofstad said.

Men's Top 10:
1 50 ELOFSSON, Per SWE 35:43.6
2 53 ALSGAARD, Thomas NOR 36:00.7 +17.1
3 35 HOFSTAD, Tore Ruud NOR 36:26.4 +42.8
4 4 SOEDERGREN, Anders SWE 36:28.6 +45.0
4 58 BAUER, Lukas CZE 36:28.6 +45.0
6 45 SKJELDAL, Kristen NOR 36:30.1 +46.5
7 49 PILLER COTTRER, Pietro ITA 36:40.8 +57.2
8 31 BOLCHAKOV, Nikolaj RUS 36:41.8 +58.2
9 48 DI CENTA, Giorgio ITA 36:43.1 +59.5
10 56 ZORZI, Cristian ITA 36:46.5 +1:02.9

Women's Top 10:
1 27 SMIGUN, Kristina EST 26:32.3
2 35 BELMONDO, Stefania ITA 26:32.9 +0.6
3 29 GAVRIILJUK, Nina RUS 26:52.2 +19.9
4 24 NEUMANNOVA, Katerina CZE 26:55.2 +22.9
5 32 PARUZZI, Gabriella ITA 27:06.4 +34.1
6 23 PEDERSEN, Hilde G. NOR 27:11.5 +39.2
7 20 TERELIA, Irina UKR 27:15.6 +43.3
8 30 SAVIALOVA, Olga RUS 27:18.2 +45.9
9 26 PHILIPPOT, Karine FRA 27:19.2 +46.9
10 21 VALBUSA, Sabina ITA 27:38.9 +1:06.6

Complete Results:
Men's
Women's

Source: www.wintersport.as


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