St Ulrich OPA Cup Race Report

8 Australians raced in the Austrian leg of the European OPA Cup series. The highlights were Xanthea Dewez making it through to the semi-finals in the classic sprint and Nick Montgomery gaining a personal best FIS point result of 166 in the 10km skate.

ImageImageThe OPA Cup series is the Continental Cup Series for Middle Europe. The junior category which is kept separate from the seniors is one of the most competitive junior race series in the world. The senior category is also hot as these races are often used as qualifiers for World Cup teams. This weekend the field was particularly competitive at times resembling a World Cup field with the likes of Dario Cologna, Curdin Pearl, Alexey Poltoranin, Alexander Legkov, Illia Chernousov, Nicole Fessel, Lucia Anger etc. etc. all competing.

Classic Sprint

The weekend began on Friday with a classic sprint. The event was split into U18, U20 and senior. Xanthea Dewez was the lone Australian competing in the U18. In her first race Xanthea raced well qualifying in 8th place and going straight through to the semi-final. In the semi Xanthea started solidly but came to form on the first hill where she moved from fifth into second place. On the second hill she pulled further away putting a good gap between herself and third however in the long finishing straight she was outsprinted and finished fourth in the heat. In the B-final it looked good until a stumble in which her pole broke. All up a great effort from one of the youngest members of the team.

Results

In the U20 Australia had three female and three male’s competing. Anna Trnka was the closest to making the finals finishing in 33rd (the top 30 qualified). Anna was 11% behind the fastest junior which a good effort in her first European race in two years. Casey Wright opened her international FIS account with “my best sprint results ever” finishing 35th with Ash Spittle also racing well finishing in 38th.

With the males Alasdair Tutt finished the furthest up the field  57th with Nick Montgomery finishing in 61st and Jackson Bursill finished 62nd. The boys who are all mainly distance skiers were happy with the way the felt and excited about the 10km skate the following day.

5/10km skate

Nick Montgomery had a really strong race in the 10km skate. Nick finished 84th out of 122 starters and gained a personal best 166 FIS points. “Career highlight so far” claimed Nick on seeing his result. Alasdair Tutt and Jackson Bursill finished 111 and 113 and were happy with the race. It was probably not the result they wanted by the learnt valuable lessons to take through to the next weekend of races.

Xanthea Dewez had the fastest time of the Australian girls finishing 49th out of 75. Anna Trnka was the next best in 57th with Casey Wright not far behind in 62nd and Ash Spittle in 68th. Lescinska raced in the senior women and finished 56th.

Next weekend the team will race a German Cup race in Oberwiesenthal. Full results can be found on the FIS website.

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