Wednesday, February 5, 2003 - Results
Scott wins Pontresina Grand Prix, Renner 3rd

Canadian National Cross-Country Ski Team members Beckie Scott and Sara Renner stood on the medal podium together yesterday evening after a successful sprint race at the Grand Prix Pontresina Invitational put them in first and third place respectively.

A possible gold-silver Canadian sweep was spoiled by German sprinting specialist Isabelle Klaus who managed to finish just ahead of the pursuing Renner. Sarah Daitch and Tara Whitten also skied strong races, eventually meeting each other in the B-final, where they finished 2nd and 3rd to secure 6th and 7th overall. There was a total of 15 women competing.

On the men's side, Italy took the first two podium spots, with Christian Zorzi standing high and teammate Freddy Schweinbacher to his right. The top Canadian was twenty-one year old Vincent Renard of Sherbrooke, who came in 8th. Renard qualified for the elimination round in the tough men's field and moved through a crash marred quarter-final, after falling early, then catching the leaders and moving through another tangle to finish second. Renard was over powered in the semi-final, meeting some of the best sprinters in the world, but remained a crowd favorite by catching stylish air on two of the courses rolling bumps. He then finished 4th in the B-final to secure 8th place. George Grey and Drew Goldsack also qualified for the elimination rounds, but where both eliminated in the quarter-finals after they had the bad luck of meeting each other in the first round.

American racer Carl Swenson made a brief appearance from the US team's current European base in Davos, Switzerland. Swenson arrived just minutes before the start after his train was delayed. He qualified well, but was up against the formidable Italian team skiers Christian Zorzi, Freddy Schweinbacher and Georgio Di Centa in the first round. Swenson made a characteristically brilliant move on the final downhill to take the lead but was overpowered by Zorzi and Schweinbacher, the races eventual top 2 finishers, on the run into the finish.

Head Coach Dave Wood believes the shape is coming around. "We've been doing lots of volume training the last few weeks," says Wood. " Some are obviously tired right now."

The race was held on the main street of downtown Pontresina, and was as an invitational event for those World Cup teams training in the area before the World Championships to be held at the end of the month in Val di Fiemme, Italy. The exciting and spectator friendly course attracted an estimated crowd of 1500 in the mainstreet format that would be highly successful and popular in North America.

The Canadian Senior National Team will leave for Val di Fiemme on Monday for a few days of training before continuing on to the next World Cup race in Asiago where they will compete on February 14th. The Under-23 World Championship athletes will leave for the Bormio race series this Sunday. These Championships begin on February 13th.


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