2016 KANGAROO HOPPET – PRESS RELEASE
NORTH AMERICA SWEEPS THE 2016 KANGAROO HOPPET
The Kangaroo Hoppet was successfully staged for the 26th time at Falls Creek on Saturday August 27. Over 1,000 skiers from 27 countries contested the event which is seen as the celebration of Australian cross-country skiing.
The Kangaroo Hoppet is the Australian leg of the Worldloppet which is a series of the 20 premier XC events from 20 countries across the world.
The event was officially started by Danielle Green MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Major Events and Regional Victoria.
Cold overnight temperature and overcast skies produced fast tracks that were perfect for all competitors as they made their way around two loops of the stunning Bogong High Plains loop.
The premier elite 42km event was fiercely contested this year with several international skiers vying for honours against a strong domestic field. At the finish it was a US sweep of the men’s and women’s which was reminiscent of the first Kangaroo Hoppet in 1991.
Matt Gelso (USA) won in a time of 1hr 53mins 23sec after a closely contested pack race from local skiers Phil Bellingham, 1:54:20, and Nick Montgomery, 1:54:57. The men’s field saw a pack of four skiers, including former champion Ben Sim, for the first 30km before a surge up the Paralyser hill broke Sim and cleared the podium places for the finish. Gelso worked hard into the wind across the Bogong High Plains that broke Montgomery’s contact with the leaders and continued to work hard on the final descent from Heathy Spur and was able to get a small break on Bellingham, who improved on his third place from last year.
The women’s event was even closer, with U.S. Sun Valley teammates, Deedra Irwin and Mary Rose, making it a clean sweep for North America. Irwin and Rose skied the full 42km together with neither skier able to make a decisive break for victory. Rose was able to make some small breaks on some of the hills but it was a strong sprint finish from Irwin that gave her a narrow victory 0.6 second victory over her teammate. Aimee Watson skied a strong and consistent race to claim third place and be the first Australian home. Watson skied most of the race on her own as she was unable to settle in a pack of male skiers to provide support into the windy sections at the top of the course.
Rio Olympic silver medallist in the quad skulls, Karsten Fosterling, finished a high credible 17th, just a few days after returning from his successful Olympic campaign in Brazil.
Full results are available online at the my.raceresult website.
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