|Stanislav Rezac of the Czech Republic triumphs at 26th Keskinada|
Gatineau, February 15, 2004 - This morning, under a dazzling blue sky in bitter cold, a broadly smiling Beckie Scott gave 898 cross-country skiers the starting signal for the Hilton Lac-Leamy freestyle 50 km race and the JEEP freestyle 25 km race. Stanislav Rezac, of the Czech Republic, proved himself the grand champion of the 26th Keskinada Loppet. In the Hilton Lac-Leamy men’s race he completed the course, shortened to 42 km, in 1 hour, 56 minutes and 2 seconds, pocketing his third victory in this event. Scarcely a second behind him was Charles Nadeau of Canada. Another Canadian came in third: Ivan Babikov, with a timing of 1 hour, 56 minutes and 9 seconds. With only a few seconds between the three leaders, their arrival at the finish line was spectacular.
In the Hilton Lac-Leamy women’s race, the winner was Tara Whitten of Canada, with a timing of 2 hours, 18 minutes and 22 seconds. Just 5 seconds behind her was another Canadian, Sheila Keaky. In third place was Sarah Peters, also of Canada, completing the course in 2 hours, 19 minutes and 3 seconds.
In the JEEP freestyle 25 km men’s race as well, the winners were three Canadians. Francis Fillion completed the course in 1 hour, 15 minutes and 43 seconds. Paul Klann’s timing was 1 hour and 21 minutes, and Jeff Ellis was 2 minutes behind him. In the women’s race, Canada’s Karla Mika came first with a timing of 1 hour, 38 minutes and 38 seconds. In second place was another Canadian, Emily Morel, completing the course in 1 hour, 42 minutes and 49 seconds. Coming in third was Cecile Bulle of France (1 hour, 43 minutes and 51 seconds).
Three Canadian men led the field in the last event of the 26th Keskinada, the freestyle 10 km. Tying for first place were Sven Niederhauser and Christen Mamen, with a timing of 23 minutes and 36 seconds. Coming in behind them was André-Yves Boisvert of Gatineau, who completed the course in 24 minutes and 20 seconds. In the women’s race the winners all were from the National Capital Region. First-place Marita Cockburn of Chelsea had a timing of 28 minutes and 9 seconds. Behind her was Julie McVicar of Kanata (28 minutes and 33 seconds), followed by Karine Bédard of Gatineau (28 minutes and 35 seconds).
Joining in the festivities were young skiers under age 12. More than 200 of them took part in the Desjardins Mini-Keski, accompanied by Olympic athlete Beckie Scott. Covering a 2 km course, they encountered characters from legends, making this an unforgettable experience for them.
Participants and organizers will long remember with gratitude Beckie Scott, Olympic champion and honorary co-chair of the 26th edition of Keskinada. With her brilliant smile and friendly manner, she performed her role with great kindness.
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