|Chamberlain and Peterson Top Final Continental Cup|
Quebec’s Christine Bisson and Team 2006 member Chris Jeffries both had to settle for silver medals after sprint finishes left the two Canadians just shy of the gold in the women’s 10 km and men’s 15 km mass start classic cross-country ski races held this morning at Mt. Orford, Quebec.
Twenty-three year old Bisson, who skis for Nordique Mont Ste-Anne, put on an incredible performance today battling it out with Olympian Aelin Peterson, from Fairbanks, Alaska. In a final sprint to the line, Peterson barely edged out Bisson by .2 of a second to win in 38:43.0. Seventeen seconds later Jacqui Benson, who came in 7th in yesterday’s 5 km freestyle event, came through for the bronze. Fourth place went to Ontario’s Tasha Betcherman in 39:10. Betcherman was pursued six seconds later by Orlean’s Colleen Mortimer. Quebec’s next best athlete, Gabrielle Nadeau who skis for Skibec, came through 6th in a time of 39:31. Youngster Crystin Jaques was close behind, finishing two seconds back from Nadeau. Eighth place went to Sarah Daitch, from the North West Territories, in 39:40. She was followed by Shayla Swanson and Tara Whitten in 39:43 and 39:44 respectively.
In the men’s 15 km, American David Chamberlain snuck by yesterday’s gold medallist Chris Jeffries to win in 45:23. Jeffries, who skis for Nakkertok Ski Club and is a member of the Team 2006 National Team, was leading the entire race until Chamberlain sprinted to the front to win by just 2 seconds. Fellow American teammate Justin Freeman fell to the back of the final dash and crossed the line in 45:38 for the bronze. Team 2006 member George Grey, from Rossland, B.C, came through fourth in 46:09. Devon Kershaw followed 9 seconds later in fifth. Phil Villeneuve and Drew Goldsack fought it out for 6th place and both ended up in a 46:52 tie. Paralympic two-time Gold medallist Brian McKeever, who skis for Lifesport out of Calgary, Alberta, came in 8th in 47:10. Ninth and 10th went to Team 2006 member Dan Roycroft in 47:13 and Denis Vachon, from Skibec, in 47:15.
Today’s event is the final race in the 2002-03 Continental Cup Series, which has been held throughout Canada and the United States. The top woman, with the best 13 of the possible 17 races, is American Wendy Wagner with 324 points. Wagner is currently in Europe competing on the World Cup circuit in preparation for Val di Fiemme’s World Championships. The second female is teammate Aelin Peterson with 312 points. The third overall woman is Montreal-based Daria Gaiazova with 198 points. Gaiazova, who has been posting consistent podium results this season, is presently in Sweden preparing for the World Junior Championships. The top sprinters of the series are Peterson in 1st with 91 points, and Wagner in 2nd with 83 points.
In the men’s final standings, Americans Kris Freeman (333 points), Carl Swenson (292 points), and David Chamberlain (261 points) took the top three spots. The top Canadian is Chris Jeffries with 173 points. In the sprinting category there is a tie for first. Chamberlain and fellow American Lars Flora, from Sun Valley, Idaho, both win with 94 points.
The race today is also the final in a four-race series of trial races for selection to the World Championship and U-23 World Championship Teams. The athletes nominated for these trips will be announced shortly.
Comlete results are available at zone4.ca
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