Falun 10km & 15km Reports

(Apologies for the delayed posting of race reports from the second week in Falun)

Falun 2015 Race Reports # 5 & 6 – 10/15km Freestyle

The 10km and 15km Freestyle events were held on Tuesday and Wednesday February 24 and 25. The 10km Freestyle saw a tough day for waxing with many teams struggling to have fast gliding skis as snow began dumping in the middle of the race. Norway with a number of medal favourites didn’t manage to get a competitor within the top 20. Aimee Watson was the highest placed Australian in 54th place, 4:19 (17.1%) behind the winner. Jessica Yeaton started fast, 52nd at 1.5km but then faded to 60th place at the finish. Xanthea Dewez finished strongly in 61st place, Esther Bottomley in her first race back after the gastro showed some promise early on but lost considerable time on her second lap to end up 65th. Sweden and the USA were two teams that managed to get it right; Charlotte Kalla won by 41 seconds and Jessica Diggins and Caitlin Gregg created history for the USA with two women on the podium. Kalla apparently had two pairs of skis waxed for different conditions in the start pen and chose the race pair at the last minute.

There was less new snow for the 15km Freestyle but again a number of teams (including Australia) had problems with fast skis for the full distance. Callum Watson skied solidly in his return after gastro, finishing 72nd, 5:38 (16.1%) behind the winner. Phillip Bellingham showed early potential, 65th at 1.5km and 71st after 5km then finished strongly after a mid-race slump to hold onto 75th place. PK started at the back of the field when the snow was already deep on all the hills and struggled to find a real race spark, finishing 85th. More details can be read in Callum’s and PK’s blogs. The race was won convincingly by Johan Olsson from Sweden, 18 seconds ahead of Maurice Manificat from France and Anders Gloersen from Norway.

World Champs Part 2

Originally posted on Paul Kovacs:

I have some time now to sit down and reflect on the past 5 weeks of the Swedish trip. I’m back in Alaska for a few weeks before flying down for one final set of races and the end of my season.

Since my last blog I had two more races to go. Both I had high hopes for and originally had been focussing on these two as my main events. The 15km Skate and the 50km Classic. After the team sprint I was on a high for a few days, I felt awesome and I was loving life. It was great to have some spark back and I was feeling really confident going into the 15km. The race was two laps of 7.5 and the plan from the start was to build into the race and hammer home not just go out guns blazing like I normally do. I…

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Östersund and Falun 2015

Originally posted on Callum Watson:


It was almost exactly 6months to the day that I was released from hospital after the ridiculous ski accident that resulted in a pneumothroax. At that particular point, I was still considering whether I should continue in the sport, let alone even try and build back up for that coming European Season. I had made some amazing gains training with Dala Sports Academy, and the improvements were all measurable and very noticeable. The 12 unbearably uncomfortable days restricted to lying on my back in the hospital bed showed their negative effects in an overwhelmingly harsh way. I went from being the strongest, fittest and skiing technically better than ever before to not being able to walk for 1.5km without needing a sit-break. In the gym things were even worse, I went from 71.5kg to just below 66kg and this was certainly noticeable! I think I was probably stronger as a…

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Bellingham/Kovacs and Yeaton/Wright Impress in Team Sprint

Falun 2015 Race Report # 4 – Team Sprint

The Falun 2015 Team Sprint was one of the main events the Australian Team was targeting at these championships. In the women’s Team Sprint the combination of Jessica Yeaton and Casey Wright finished 18th after a tough race against Great Britain. In the men’s event Phillip Bellingham and Paul Kovacs finished 23rd after a couple of blazes of glory mid-race. But first to the circumstances of the team selection.


Phil&PK_TeamSprint_Falun2015 Continue reading

Falun 2015 Skiathlon Report

Falun 2015 Race Report # 3 – Skiathlons

Apologies for the delays on the race reports, it’s been action aplenty here in Falun.

The Skiathlons were held last Saturday February 21. Originally there were six Australians entered, however in the end only three of them competed. In the 15km Skiathlon Aimee Watson was the highest placed finisher in 53rd, Xanthea Dewez was 54th, and unfortunately Anna Trnka was overlapped in the last 500m and had to pull out, ending up ranked 55th out of the 56 starters. Casey Wright withdrew on the morning of the race to concentrate on the Team Sprint the following day, having been selected to take the place of Esther Bottomley who unfortunately came down with a stomach bug a few days earlier. On the men’s side Callum Watson and Paul Kovacs were not 100% healthy and withdrew from the 30km Skiathlon to focus on later races in the championships (more about that in the next report).

The Skiathlon fields were relatively small compared to previous championships, to a large extent due to the new qualification standards for all the distance events (see race report #1). In the 15km the Australian women avoided a small pile up early on, then the pack soon broke up thanks to a cracking pace by the front handful of skiers. All made it through the change to skating skis without any incidents. Aimee started to close on a Chinese skier on the final lap but the finish line came too soon. Xanthea pushed hard all the way to make it safely through onto her final lap. Anna had a front row seat of the battle for the gold medal after she was pulled from the race before the leaders caught her on the final hill of the sprint loop. The winner was Therese Johaug from Norway; Astrid Jacobsson from Norway outsprinted the home favourite Charlotte Kalla for the silver.

In the men’s 30km the winner was Russian Maxim Vylegzhanin ahead of Daro Cologna from Switzerland and Canadian Alex Harvey; just 1.6 seconds separated the top three. Special mention to Andrew Musgrave from Great Britain in 12th place.

Team Sprint and team health report coming up next!

Huge Snowfall and an Official Written Warning (Campra race report)

Originally posted on Half an Adventure:

The main part of this post is about my somewhat unusual three days of racing in the Italian part of Switzerland, which included a huge dump of snow, one of the toughest races of my life, getting an official warning from the international ski federation (FIS) and relying on the help of those I have met along the way. On to that first:

Skate Sprint

The races were held in a place called Campra, in the Italian-speaking Ticino province of Switzerland. The course is located next to a very long building with accommodation, a sport hall, an outdoor ice rink, ski shop, café and many other things, which appears to have been cobbled together over time to create a rabbit-warren of staircases and the feeling of a never-ending building. Apart from this complex of buildings, there is little else in the valley apart from a few huts, most of which…

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World Championships the half way point.

Originally posted on Paul Kovacs:

Again I find myself writing this in my room watching snow fall steadily outside. Calmly covering everything in a layer of white. Erasing everything that was underneath from sight and starting afresh. We are at the halfway point for World Championships and under the serenity of that layer of snow lies a tumultuous last week. The team and myself have certainly had its ups and downs.

Our awesome accommodation with great food and super friendly staff! Our awesome accommodation with great food and super friendly staff!

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