Thursday, September 5, 2002 - Latest News
Australian Hoppet Loppet

The 12th annual Kangaroo Hoppet was held today at Falls Creek in North-East Victoria. Twenty-nine year old Stanislav Rezac from the Czech Republic won the 42km event, while Belinda Phillips of the Lake Mountain Nordic Team became the first Australian woman to go back-to-back with an impressive victory in the women's event.

The Kangaroo Hoppet is Australia's leg of the Worldloppet, a series of 14 long-distance ski races world-wide attracting over 80,000 participants annually. Almost 1000 people entered the 2002 "Hoppet", competing over distances of 42, 21, and 7 kilometres. Special guests included the Minister for Tourism John Pandazopoulos, official starter for the 42km event, and the Minister for Sport Justin Madden, starter for the 21km event.

Warm weather preceding the event made for slow conditions, Rezac's winning time of 2:10:40 well down on the 2001 winning time of 1:52:43. However race organisers were pretty satisfied to run a successful competition on the full traditional course after wind and fog threatened to shorten the event.

Rezac broke away from the pack in the first 5km, together with 2001 Kangaroo Hoppet winner Ben Derrick and Australian Biathlon champion Cameron Morton. Over the top of the Bogong High Plains the Czech picked up the pace again, and with the help of reportedly "rocket" fast skis took a handy lead of about 2 minutes through the first 21km section of the figure-8 loop. Morton and Derrick were working together to bridge the gap, however when Derrick "hit the wall" at about 30km the race for first and second place was over. Third place was filled temporarily by Mark Raymond from Alexandra before he followed Derrick's footsteps, and finally triple Winter Olympian Anthony Evans settled into the final podium place for good. The win was Rezac's second Worldloppet victory in two years, having won the Finlandia in 2001, also placing 4th in the overall World Marathon Cup the same season.

Phillips had been a bit out of sorts this season, managing only one third place in the recent Australian Championships at Perisher Valley. This was all put behind her as she quickly jumped to a early lead ahead of Canada's Sarah Peters and two-time Hoppet winner Camille Melvey from North Bondi. Extending the gap out to 3 minutes at 21km, Phillips never looked back, and went on to win in the time of 2:30:53. Peters, who won the Canadian leg of the Worldloppet in February this year, struggled on solo in the tough conditions to claim second place 58 seconds ahead of Melvey in third.

2002 Kangaroo Hoppet 42km

Top 10 Men
Top 10 Women

1 Stanislav Rezac, CZECH
2 Cameron Morton, Victoria
3 Anthony Evans, ACT
4 Paul Murray, Victoria
5 Nick Almoukov, RUSSIA
6 Ben Derrick, Victoria
7 Mark Raymond, Victoria
8 Robert Curtis, Victoria
9 Paul Connor, UK
10 Lindsay Bridgeford, Victoria

1 Belinda Phillips, Victoria
2 Sarah Peters, CANADA
3 Camille Melvey, NSW
4 Robyn Rodd, Victoria
5 Claire-Louise Brumley, Victoria
6 Leanne Laajoki, ACT
7 Mary Feeney Hall, USA
8 Carla Zijlstra, Netherlands
9 Jane Scheer, NSW
10 Michelle Forrer, Victoria

For complete results visit www.hoppet.com.au


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