|Scott 26th, Renner 31st in last World Cup before Christmas|
A poor selection of skis resulted in disappointing finishes for Canadian Cross Country ski team members Beckie Scott and Sara Renner yesteday in the final pre- Christmas World Cup Pursuit race held in Ramsau, Austria.
In the first 5km classical portion of the 10km race Scott, the bronze medallist from Thursday's World Cup Sprint race, came through the exchange zone in 10th position. Renner followed not far behind in 19th. The second skating part of the pursuit left Scott and Renner scrambling to gain speed on the gradual downhill sections, as they crossed the finish line in 26th and 31st respectively in times of 30:21.2 and 30:56.7.
Coach Wood believes the lack of structure and improper ski selection accounts for today's results. "Had we been able to keep up with the racers on the gradual terrain we would have likely had a better day." "Every so often those things will happen in difficult skiing conditions and especially when you have a small support staff."
As expected, Norway's Bente Skari blew the field away coming in over 30 seconds ahead of the 42 racers in a time of 27:59.7. Teammate Marit Bjoergen's got the silver in a time of 28:32.6. There was a head-to-head battle for bronze between Estonian's Kristian Smigun and Germany's Claudia Kuenzel. Smigun edged Kuenzel out by .6 of a second in 28:40.3.
On the Men's side, the Germans got their medal revenge with Axel Teichmann, a former World Junior Champion, winnning the gold in a time of 50:02.7. Teammate Tobias Angerer barely snuck by fellow German Rene Sommerfeldt for the bronze in a time of 50:19.5. The German streak was broken by Sweden's Anders Soedergren, who got the silver in 50:03.6. There were 58 men competing in the 10km/10km pursuit race.
Fellow Canadian teammember Milaine Theriault did not compete due to illness, and there were no other North American racers starting today.
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