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Archive for January, 2010

Norway Goes Two for Two With Men’s Relay Victory; U.S. 12th

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

With a Northug-like kick over the last rise, Finn Krogh propelled the Norwegian men to a relay victory here in Hinterzarten.

Glued to Russian phenom Petr Sedov for the last of four legs, Krogh held on until the pair reached the stadium, then unleashed a move that the Sedov couldn’t match. It was the first victory for the Norwegians in the relay since the 2006 championships in Kranj, Slovenia, when Northug himself was on the team.

The Americans came home in twelfth place, anchored by Erik Bjornsen. He bridged a sizeable gap to the Swedesh skier in front of him, but could not quite hold his lead in the finishing sprint.

Full report to come.

Norway Holds Off Finland For Women’s Relay Win; U.S. Eighth

Sunday, January 31st, 2010
Hanna Brodin (SWE) leads Norway's Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg on the final leg of the women's relay at the World Junior Championships

Hanna Brodin (SWE) leads Norway's Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg on the final leg of the women's relay at the World Junior Championships

After the Norwegian junior women swept the pursuit here on Friday, there didn’t seem to be much of a question of who would win today’s relay. And all the way until the last hundred meters of the race, that held true.

With pursuit champion Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg anchoring her team and leading by five seconds over the last small hill on the course, Norway appeared to have things in the bag. But a ferocious charge by Finland’s Krista Lahteenmaki on the finishing stretch took Oestberg to the limit-while it wasn’t quite enough, if the course had been five or ten meters longer, it probably would have been.

Hanna Brodin of Sweden tried to drop Oestberg on the course’s main climb, and she paid the price. Oestberg passed her over the top, and then Lahteenmaki went by Brodin in the stadium like she was standing still. Sweden still managed to hold on to third, however.

The American women fought their way to an eighth place finish, just ten seconds from the top six, with their teammates screaming encouragement from the side of the trail. Canada was farther back, most likely out of the top ten.

Complete report to come.

Video: Pepene Makes His Move

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Paul Constantin Pepene won the men’s pursuit  at U23 Championships today.  Here he makes a decisive move.

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Sadie Bjornsen after the 15k pursuit at U-23 World Championships

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Sadie Bjornsen (USA) finished 26th in the 15km pursuit today at U23 Championships.

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Romanian Dominates U-23 Men’s Pursuit; Elliot Skis Near the Front But Can’t Hold On

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

After Petr Sedov’s domination of the junior 20k pursuit here yesterday, it seemed unlikely that anyone would be able to outdo in the 30k U-23 version today.

Enter Romanian Paul-Constantin Pepin.

On the second of four 3.75k skate loops, he put in a hard acceleration on the course’s big climb, breaking away despite the best efforts of Andreas Katz (GER) and Tad Elliot to match the move.

For the next two laps, he used a quirky skate technique to build up a big lead, entering the stadium with enough time for a lengthy victory celebration. He seemed barely out of breath at the finish.

Norway’s Ole Marius Bach and Katz followed in second and third-far back. Those two beat a Japanese skier-that country’s fourth fourth-place finish here.

Elliot looked very good on course-he managed to stay with the lead pack for the entire classic leg, which is normally his weaker technique. When Pepin made his move on the hill, he joined Katz in trying to reel him in. But Elliot told FasterSkier that that move may have been too much for him-by the end of the race, he had faded to 21st.

The Canadian men ended their week here with a bang, as Frederic Touchette and Graeme Killick were sixth and seventh, respectively.

Noah Hoffman was the only other American finisher in 34th. Peter Kling and Reese Hanneman-the two other American starters-battled hard to stay ahead of Pepin on their seventh of eight laps. It appeared that they had succeeded, as they still had a 30-second gap on him coming into the stadium, but officials pulled the racers anyway.

Slind (NOR) Wins U-23 Pursuit; Webster Eighth

Saturday, January 30th, 2010
Astrid Oeyre Slind (NOR) winning the U-23 Championships Women's 15k pursuit in Hinterzarten, Germany

Astrid Oeyre Slind (NOR) winning the U-23 Championships Women's 15k pursuit in Hinterzarten, Germany

After working with one of her Norwegian teammates for the second half of the race, Astrid Oeyre Slind won the women’s U-23 Championships 15k pursuit today.

She outkicked Hilde Lauvhaug on the final uphill, after the two had distanced the rest of the field on the last lap. Svetlana Nikolaeva (RUS) was third, passing Yuki Kobayashi in the final kilometer to knock the Japanese skier off the podium. It was the third time in as many days that a Japanese athlete was fourth.

After two days of constant snow, the weather today was much tamer, with a few small flurries that fell throughout the pursuit, and it made for a more tactical race that seemed like it was less about survival, and perhaps more about pacing.

Canada’s Brittany Webster learned that the hard way, putting in a hard kick to stay with the lead group, but then dropping back to eighth place by the finish. She said that the push she made to stay with the Norwegian was “a little too much for my legs.”

Sadie Bjornsen led the Americans for the Americans in 26th. Check out a quick YouTube video with her here. Becca Rorabaugh and Ida Sargent were 31st and 33rd, respectively, with Kate Fitzgerald in 38th.

Video: Women’s Pursuit Start and Japan’s Hiroyuki Miyazawa

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Women’s Start

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Japan’s Hiroyuki Miyazawa finished 9th, after starting with bib 102, and having to ski up through the field.  Nat Herz talks briefly with Hiroyuki and jis coach following the race.

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Video: Eric Packer Post-Race Interview

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Nat Herz caught up with Eric Packer (USA) following the 20km pursuit at World Juniors.  Packer was amazed at the intensity of the mass start and the huge number of crashes.  Packer did not have his best day.

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Video: Wax Room Interview with Randy Gibbs

Friday, January 29th, 2010

With new snow dumping just before the race, waxing was challenging for the World Junior Pursuit.  Randy Gibbs, head of the US service team answers a few questions.

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Sedov Dominates Men’s 20k Pursuit; Patterson 19/20th

Friday, January 29th, 2010

After losing out on medals in the first two events here, Petr Sedov resumed his winning ways in the men’s 20k pursuit today at the World
Junior Championships in Hinterzarten.

Sedov, who won all of the races in the same championships last year in France, had already dropped the entire field before he had even
finished the classic portion of the race.

Petrica Hogiu of Romania was a distant second, and Finn Haagen Krogh of Norway followed in third. Scott Patterson was the top American finisher in either 19th or 20th, pending a photo finish.

Full results and report to come.