|Skari Wins 35th, Bauer 1st in CZE|
Norway's Bente Skari fattened her World Cup lead today as she earned her 35th victory, winning a 10-km skate race, while national favorite Lukas Bauer won for the first time, taking the men's 15-km by a half-minute over Christian Hoffmann of Austria. Carl Swenson (Boulder, CO) topped U.S. skiers in 32nd place, 2.6 seconds out of the points.
Norwegian star Bente Skari won in a time of 25:19.1. Italian Olympic medallist Gabriella Paruzzi was 8 seconds behind, followed by Estonian champ Kristina Smigun, who has been kept off the top of the podium all World Cup season long. Smigun came in 25:22.6 with German youngster Evi Sachenbacher in pursuit four seconds later.
Canadian Sara Renner was a couple seconds from making the top-30 and grabbing some more World Cup points in today’s 10 km Freestyle World Cup.
The Canmore Native skied a good race, though she is frustrated to be so close to where she wants to be right now. “I am fairly pleased with my performance, and really glad I came to do this race, but next time I just need to be those few seconds faster, “ says twenty-six year old Renner over the phone from Czech.
Coach Dave Wood is happy with his athlete’s performance and admits the competition is tight.“(Sara) skied well,” continues Wood, “she is so close to the points right now.”
Renner’s time of 26:57.5 was less than 10 seconds from making the top 25. The entire field of 55 finishers was densely packed, places separated by mere seconds or points of a second. Renner’s teammate Beckie Scott did not compete in today’s event, but will be racing in next weekend’s 10 km classic and Sprint relay in Oberhof, Germany.
On the men’s side, Lukas Bauer skied a gold-medal winning performance in front of his home crowd as he crossed the finish of the 15 km Free event in 34:54.8. Austrian veteran Christian Hoffman came in 30 seconds later to capture the silver medal. Swedish speedster Per Eloffson, who has been quite unusually in the back of the pack all World Cup season long, finally made his season podium debut by winning the bonze medal, less than a second behind Hoffman.
Swenson, in his first World Cup of the season as the U.S. Ski Team joined the tour – and direct from winning three skate races at the Chevy Truck U.S. Cross Country Championships in Rumford, ME, had a time of 36:53.1. Andrew Johnson (Greensboro, VT) was 42nd and Justin Wadsworth (Bend, OR), who was 22nd in a race in Davos, Switzerland, in Christmas, finished 55th.
The World Cup series continues tomorrow in Nove Mesto with the 4x5 km and 4x10 km relay events. The Canadian team will not be participating in the race and will instead be traveling to Pontresina, Switzerland and on to Oberhof, Germany for the upcoming weekend’s races.
VIESSMANN CROSS COUNTRY WORLD CUP
Nove Mesto, CZE – Jan. 18
Men's 15-km FR
1. Lukas Bauer, Czech Republic, 34:54.8
2. Christian Hoffmann, Austria, 35:24.9
3. Per Elofsson, Sweden, 35:25.5
4. Giorgio DiCenta, Italy, 35:28.5
5. Vincent Vittoz, France, 35:28.7
32. Carl Swenson, Boulder, CO, 36:33.1
42. Andrew Johnson, Greensboro, VT, 37:34.4
55. Justin Wadsworth, Bend, OR, 37:54.3
Women's 10-km FR
1. Bente Skari, Norway, 25:11.8
2. Gabriella Paruzzi, Italy, 25:19.1
3. Kristina Smigun, Estonia, 25:22.6
4. Evi Sachenbacher, Germany, 25:26.6
5. Kaisa Varis, Finland, 25:28.1
31. Sara Renner, Canmore, AB, 26:57.5
World Cup Standings (13 races)
1. Rene Sommerfeldt, Germany, 466
2. Mathias Fredriksson, Sweden, 430
3. Tor Arne Hetland, Norway, 340
4. (tie) Bauer and Vittoz, 317 each
1. Skari, 742
2. Smigun, 664
3. Paruzzi, 464
4. Marit Bjoergen, Norway, 420
5. Sachenbacher, 372
Complete race results: http://www.fis-ski.com/crosscountry/
Source: www.usskiteam.com and CCC
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