|Scott and Babikov With Narrow Wins at Canadian Championships|
Charlo, N.B.-Beckie Scott acquired a taste of what it will be like when she finally takes her spot on top of the Olympic podium later this year. The Vermilion, Alta. native captured her second national title of the week on Wednesday in Charlo, N.B. after winning the two-day 10-kilometre pursuit competition.
Scott and Olympic teammate, Sara Renner, of Canmore, Alta., proved they are in a class of their own, jumping well ahead of the pack of Canucks at the national championships. With Scott holding a 2.8 second lead over Renner after the opening day of the event, the two Canadian cross-country ski queen's finished the five-kilometre classic skiing leg on Tuesday nearly 46 seconds ahead of the next fastest athlete.
Canada's top female skiers suited up again on Wednesday for the ten-kilometre skate ski portion of the competition. A different day, the story was similiar with the Canadian duo further increasing their lead on the pack. While Scott started slightly ahead of her teammate, the 27-year-old Renner quickly made up the time difference, and skied the entire track with the Olympic champion, only to be beat out by a mere one-tenth of a second. Scott finished the two-day event in a time of 42 minutes 53.2 seconds, while Renner, who enjoyed one of her most successful years on the World Cup, finished at 42:53.3.
Scott and Renner's other 2002 Olympic teammate, Milaine Theriault, of St. Quentin, N.B., who has been working hard to get back into elite racing form this season, finished third in front of the New Brunswick faithful with a time of 44:34.9, while upstart Canadian athlete, Chandra Crawford, of Canmore, Alta., who won five international medals in the past month, hung on for fourth (45:32.0).
The biggest news of the day was the no-start of Tuesday's classic race winner Devon Kershaw. Kershaw came down with a flu bug overnight and was unable to start the 15km skate pursuit race on Wednesday. In Kershaw's absence it was Russian import Ivan Babikov starting first, followed 15 seconds later by Chris Jeffries. Jeffries closed the stagger quickly and skied most of the race with Babikov, but was narrowly beaten at the line in a controversial sprint decision. The finish-line cameras were not rolling to record the exciting finish and the win was given to Babikov in the absence of proper race photo finish capabilities. This is the second time in two years that controversial timing conditions have marred Canadian Championship results. George Grey, of Rossland, B.C., who began the day in third, held onto his position after a tight fight to the final with Dan Roycroft, of Port Sydney, Ont.
In the junior men's race David Nighbor of North Bay, Ontario held onto his top position from Tuesday's race and easily won his second National title of the week. Nighbor also finished 7th in the senior men's competition. Crystin Jaques of Canmore, Alberta moved up from second after Tuesday's classic race to win the Junior women's 10km skate pursuit race.
Chris Butler, of Thunder Bay, Ont., (39:40.0) and Edmonton's Amanda Ammar (32:07.0) won the junior boys and girls pursuit competitions on Wednesday. Quebec's Alex Harvey (34:33.4) and Natasha Kullas, of Timmins, Ont., (33:43.0) won the boys and girls juvenile events.Results will be posted at http://www.skinationals.ca/pages/races.htm when available.
Women's 10 Kilometre Skate Pursuit
1. Beckie Scott Vermilion, Alta. 42:53.2
2. Sara Renner Canmore, Alta. 42:53.3
3. Milaine Theriault St. Quentin, N.B. 44:34.9
4. Chandra Crawford Canmore, Alta. 45:32.0
5. Rebecca Laakso Thunder Bay, Ont. 46:09.4
Men's 15 Kilometre Skate Pursuit
1. Ivan Babikov Canmore, Alta. 57:01.4
2. Chris Jeffries Chelsea, Que. 57:01.5
3. George Grey Rossland, B.C. 58:05.4
4. Dan Roycroft Port Sydney, Ont. 58:06.4
5. Drew Goldsack Red Deer, Alta. 58:46.0
Source: Cross Country Canada
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