|Freeman 17th, Grey 38th in Oberstdorf Duathlon|
OBERSTDORF, Germany (Feb. 13) - Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) moved up three places during the 15K skating portion Friday to finish 17th in a men's 30K skiathlon on what will be the 2005 World Championships course. World Cup leader Rene Sommerfeldt of Germany out-sprinted Swiss Reto Burgermeister by 2.8 seconds to win in 1:16.02.9.
Canadian George Grey struggled during the early kilometers of the classic leg but had a very strong skate portion of his race, finishing in 38th position. Chris Jeffried also had a strong day, fading only in the final kilometers to finish 44th.
Freeman was timed in 1:18.01.8 with Carl Swenson (Park City, UT) 51st in the 67-racer field. Freeman hung with the top 10 through the early stages of the mass start before dropping back to 20th at the end of the 15K classic technique race...and then, producing the 10th-fastest 15K skate, moving back to the front by three places for his best result since before Christmas.
"It was a scramble. This is a really hard course," Freeman said. "There was sloppy snow in the classic section and you just had to slog through it. Once we got into the skating race the snow was harder."
For Freeman, who had a fifth and sixth in December - the best U.S. results since 1984, the race was a pick-me-up after frustrations during the last month. "This is a good confidence booster and hopefully there are better things to come," he said. "I was getting sick of being in the 20s. Today, I was only about 20 seconds out of the top 10."
Head Coach Trond Nystad said Freeman has battled sickness for part of the last six weeks "and he skied a smart race, and stayed in it. It was definitely difficult waxing and this is a hard course - lots of uphills - but waxing guys had good skis for him and he did well.
"Carl just didn't have it. He felt he went out conservatively but then it was just one of those days - no good explanation; he just didn't have it. He had the classic race of his life in the Marcialonga [finishing 13th Jan. 25 in the 70K classic race in Italy] and he's getting caught up from that..."
The women race a 15K skiathlon (7.5+7.5) Saturday with two-skier team sprints Sunday.VIESSMAN CROSS COUNTRY WORLD CUP
For complete results and World Cup standings, go to http://www.fis-ski.com/calendar/event.php?id=13308
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