|Canadians 14th, 16th and 21st in World Cup Sprint Relay|
One Canadian women's team of Becky Laakso and Sara Renner and two Canadian men's teams of Chris Jeffries and George Grey and Dan Roycroft and Gordon Jewett contested the World Cup sprint relay in Oberstdorf, Germany today.
In the new sprint relay format, there are two semi-final rounds with the top 5 teams in each round moving on to the final round. Each round has skiers racing 3 alternating laps each for a total of 6 laps. Laakso started for the Canadian women, toeing the line in her second career World Cup in as many days. Laakso skied well on her first leg, handing off to Renner in 10th position. Renner then went on the move on her first leg, moving them into 8th position. From there it was a back and forth battle, with the Canadians eventually taking 8th in their heat, for 16th overall of 22 teams at the end of the day.
On the men's side, the two Canadian teams were on different sides in the semi-finals and did not have to face off against each other. Dan Roycroft started for Canada II in the first heat, skiing well and handing off to Jewett with the lead group in 11th position. After a small tangle in the exchange Jewett was able to move up on his first leg into 7th position. On the second legs Roycroft skied very well, moving all the way up to 6th position before catching a pole and eventually handing off in 8th position. Jewett kept them with the lead group, handing off in 11th position. Roycroft faded on his final lap of the difficult course, dropping to 13th position. Jewett then skied a very strong final leg, 5th fastest of the semi-final, to move them back up to 11th, out-stretching the American team of Kris Freeman and Carl Swenson at the line. Roycroft and Jewett were only 19.1 seconds behind the top team in their heat. In the final results, which sort placings of those who fail to qualify by heat placing, Roycroft and Jewett finished 21st of 30 teams.
In the other men's semi-final Chris Jeffries and George Grey were in the mix for most of the race, skiing at the back of a lead group of 7 teams until the final leg. Jeffries and Grey eventually fell of the rapid pace in the final two laps, but held on to finish in 7th place, just 17.2 seconds off the winning team. In the final results Jeffries and Grey finished 14th.
It was an encouraging day for the whole Canadian team. For the men, it was confirmation that they have the speed and strength to challenge the best teams in the world.
Complete World Cup Results: http://www.fisski.com/
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