Saturday, January 25, 2003 - Results
North Americans Ski Well on the World Cup

Norway’s Bente Skari continues to be untouchable this World Cup Season as she blew the women’s field away once more in this morning’s 10 km classical mass start cross-country ski race held in Oberhof, Germany.

In a final time of 28:37.5, thirty-year old Skari skied the hilly course 43 seconds faster than second place finisher and teammate Hilde Pedersen.  Pedersen, a long time veteran of the Norwegian team who is currently ranked 4th in the World Cup standings, managed to keep ahead of the pursuing Finn, Kaisa Varis.  Pederesen crossed the line in 29:19.3.  Varis was closely followed 4 seconds later by Olympic Gold medallist Gabriella Paruzzi from Italy. Canadians Beckie Scott from Vermillion, Alberta finished 12th in 29:59.2 and Sara Renner from Canmore, Alberta placed 21st in 31:09.8.  The only American woman racing today was Olympian Wendy Wagner, who came in 25th in a time of 32:10.7.

Senior National Team Head Coach Dave Wood believes it was a mediocre day for the Canadian team.  “There has been a lot of hard training the last few weeks, but now we have to just make sure all the holes are plugged for the upcoming World Championships.”

On the men’s side it was a very tight race, with the top 8 finishers coming within 12 seconds of each other.  Sweden’s Mathias Fredriksson won the 15 km mass start classic event in 39:04.0.  Five seconds later came Switzerland’s Reto Burgermeister followed by a pack of finishers including third place Frode Estil from Norway in 39:11.5, Jens Filbrich of Germany in 39:12.2, and Italian teammates Fulvio Valbusa and Giorgio Di Centa in 39:13.6 and 39:14.8 respectively.  Seventh and eighth spots went to Estonians Andrus Veerpalu and Jaak Mae in 39:16.1 and 39:16.7.

Kris Freeman, of the American team, skied a gutsy race by staying in the top 10 until the last few kilometers.  The young skier eventually crossed the line in 19th spot with a time of 40:09.6, but was only  30 seconds from the top 10.  Other American finishers include Olympians Carl Swenson in 42:38.2 (39), Andrew Johnson in 43:17.0 (43), and Justin Wadsworth in 44:05.9 (44).

The Oberhof World Cup weekend continues tomorrow morning with the freestyle sprint relay.

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