Sunday, March 7, 2004 - Results
Sara Renner 23rd in Lahti, Canadian Men Strong

Lahti, FIN-Canada's Sara Renner was just 75 seconds off the gold-medal pace while finishing 23rd in a World Cup cross-country ski distance event on Sunday in Lahti, Finland.

The 27-year-old from Canmore, Alt., who is recognized more for her sprinting abilities, has been consistently placing in the top-25 in the distance disciplines this winter. Renner finished the 10-kilometre course with a time of 30 minutes 15.5 seconds.

"The field is so tight out here, and the difference between top-10, 15 and 20 is a matter of seconds. If you want to be on the podium, you have to be on fire all day," said Renner, who is approaching the end of a gruelling stretch in Europe that has kept her away from home, and living out of a suitcase for nearly four months. "I always seem to start fast and then I try to hold on so I lost a few places at the end today. I'm getting really tired and can tell the end of the season is approaching."

Renner was joined by her two Olympic teammates in Finland. Beckie Scott, of Vermilion, Alta., who narrowly missed the podium in Friday's sprint event, struggled to a disappointing 26th place (30:20.8), while Milaine Theriault, of St. Quentin, N.B., finished 54th (31:53.5). Theriault is on the World Cup comeback trail this month after taking a year off to have a baby.

Virpi Kuitunen, of Finland, won the women's competition after posting the leading time at 28:59.4. Italy's Gabriella Paruzzi, who has been among the frontrunners all season, was just one-one-hundredth of a second behind at 28:59.5, while Olga Savialova, of Russia, was third (29:08.5).

The young Canadian men's team, who has been experiencing the highs and lows of World Cup life since making their debuts in December, continued their improvement amongst the world's elite skiers. George Grey, of Rossland, B.C., led the Canadian foursome with a 44th-place finish in a field of 95 athletes. The 24-year-old Grey finished the 15-kilometre classic trek with a time of 39:59.4. Chris Jeffries, 26, of Chelsea, Que., was 46th (39:59.6), while Devon Kershaw, 22, of Sudbury, Ont. was 52nd (40:08.0), and Drew Goldsack, of Red Deer, Alta., was 77th (41:36.5).

Norway's Frode Estil won the men's competition with a time of 38:12.0, while two Estonia teammates grabbed second and third. Jaak Mae took home the silver medal (38:27.8), while Andrus Veerpalu rounded out the top-three (38:32.0).

Canada's Cross-Country Ski Team will head to Italy on Monday for the World Cup Finals, which take place next week on the 2006 Olympic course. The event will mark the last World Cup competition of the season before the team returns home for the Canadian Championships set for Charlo, N.B., March 14-23, 2004.

Complete results available at

World Cup, Lahti, Finland
Women's 10km Classic

1.Virpi Kuitunen, FIN, 28:59.4
2. Gabriella Paruzzi, ITA, 28:59.5
3. Olga Savialova, RUS, 29:08.5
4. Valentina Shevchenko, UKR, 29:10.0
5. Hilde Pedersen, NOR, 29:10.2
6. Julija Tchepalova, RUS, 29:12.6
7. Larisa Kurkina, RUS, 29:18.1
8. Ekaterina Vorontsova, RUS, 29:20.4
9. Aino Kaisa Saarinen, FIN, 29:28.8
10. Vibeke Skofterud, NOR, 29:49.3.
23. Sara Renner, Canmore, Alta., 30:15.5
26. Beckie Scott, Vermilion, Alta., 30:20.8
56. Milaine Theriault, St. Quentin, N.B., 31:53.5
Men's 15km Classic
1.Frode Estil, NOR, 38:12.0
2. Jaak Mae, EST, 38:27.8
3. Andrus Veerpalu, EST, 38:32.0
4. Axel Teichmann, GER, 38:43.4
5. Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset, NOR, 38:44.2
6. Rene Sommerfeldt, GER, 38:51.0
7. Roman Leybyuk, UKR, 38:51.3
8. Martin Bajcicak, SVK, 38:56.8
9. Jens Arne Svardtedal, NOR, 38:58.0
10. Lukas Bauer, CZE, 39:00.1
44. George Grey, Rossland, B.C., 39:59.4
46. Chris Jeffries, Chelsea, Que., 39:59.6
52. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont., 40:08.0
77. Drew Goldsack, Red Deer, Alta., 41:36.5

Source: Cross Country Canada

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