|Scott 7th on 2006 Olympic Trails|
Pragelato, ITA-Beckie Scott posted her second-consecutive season-best result on Saturday after finishing seventh in a 15-kilometre free technique cross-country ski event at the World Cup Finals in Pragelato, Italy.
The 2002 Olympic gold medallist, who is known more for her sprinting prowess, completed the track in a time of 38 minutes 23.8 seconds. The Vermilion, Alta. native has raised the level of her skiing into elite form over the past two weeks, highlighted by Friday's silver-medal performance in the sprint competition, which is positive considering the worlds best are competing on the 2006 Olympic site near Torino, Italy this week.
"Beckie skied extremely well again today and it is encouraging to see her putting some strong results on the board," said Dave Wood, head coach, Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team. "I'm glad she finished the season off on a high note and it is great that she was able to have some really good performances on the future Olympic site."
With Canada's Sara Renner, of Canmore, Alta., forced to sit on the sidelines Saturday with a head cold, the only other Canadian competing in the final event of the women's World Cup calendar was Milaine Theriault, of St. Quentin, N.B. Theriault, a three-time Olympian who is on the comeback trail this year after having a baby, finished 45th with a time of 42:39.5. Scott and Renner completed the distance events this season sitting in 23rd and 33rd spots respectively on the World Cup standings.
American Rebecca Dussault overcame the tough conditions and a fall midrace to score her first career World Cup points with a 28th place finish.
Italy's Sabina Valbusa captured the gold medal in front of her hometown crowd after setting the mark to beat at 36:56.5. Well behind the Italian were Russia's Julija Tchepalova and the Czech Republic's Katerina Neumannova battling it out for the final two positions on the podium. Tchepalova grabbed the silver medal with a time of 37:22.5, while Neumannova crossed the line third at 37:25.8.
The World Cup Cross-Country Ski Finals wrap up on Sunday with the men hitting the start line for a 30-kilometre free technique event. Canada will be well represented with George Grey, Chris Jeffries, Drew Goldsack and Devon Kershaw looking to continue to climb up the World Cup standings in their rookie season.
Beckie Scott will lead the national team back home on Sunday evening for Canadian Championships in Charlo, N.B., March 15-21, 2004.
World Cup Women's 15km Skate, Pragelato, Italy
1.Sabina Valbusa, ITA, 36:56.5
2. Julija Tchepalova, RUS, 37:22.5
3. Katerina Neumannova, CZE, 37:25.8
4. Hilde Pedersen, NOR, 37:55.4
5. Valentina Shevchenko, UKR, 38:20.7
6. Antonella Confortola, ITA, 38:22.8
7. Beckie Scott, Vermilion, Alta., 38:23.8
8. Olga Savialova, RUS, 38:26.6
9. Gabriella Paruzzi, ITA, 38:27.0
10. Evi Sachenbacher, GER, 38:35.5.
North American Results:
28. Rebecca Dussault, USA, 40:41.2
45. Milaine Theriault, St. Quentin, N.B., 42:39.5
Source: Cross Country Canada
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