Full Australian Contingent in Classic Sprint

Falun 2015 Race Report # 2 – Classic Sprint

The Classic Sprint at the Falun 2015 World Championship was held on Thursday February 19, with Australia fielding a full contingent of four men and four women. Esther Bottomley and Jessica Yeaton finished just a second apart in 50th and 51st place, with Anna Trnka 57th and Xanthea Dewez 62nd from the field of 94 starters. Phillip Bellingham was the highest placed man in 64th place, with Paul Kovacs, Jackson Bursill and Mark Pollock 82nd, 86th and 99th respectively out of 127 starters.

Competing in her 6th World Championship sprint, Esther was in 43rd place at the top of the course but lost valuable seconds after nearly falling on a fast corner. She just missed a V-board as she veered off the course and did well to stay on her feet. Unfortunately Xanthea wasn’t so lucky, falling on the same corner just after clocking 52nd position in the mid-race time split. She was soon back on her feet but lost a lot of momentum and places. Jessica skied solidly in her World Championship debut, and Anna backed up well after the 5km qualication race the previous day. The women’s A-final was won by Marit Bjorgen from Norway ahead of crowd favourite Stina Nilsson from Sweden.

Phillip’s 64th place was an improvement on his 73rd place in the World Championship Classic Sprint in 2013. He skied well up the two big hills though overall was disappointed not to be further up the result list. PK, Jackson and Mark struggled more with grip and were unable to stay in the tracks on the steeper parts of the hills. On the whole classic sprinting is probably the weakest discipline for the current men on the team. The men’s A-final was won by Petter Northug from Norway ahead of a fast finishing Alex Harvey from Canada.

The next races are the Skiathlon events on Saturday. Casey, Anna and Xanthea will join Aimee Watson in the 15km Skiathlon, while Callum Watson and Paul Kovacs will race the 30km Skiathlon. Esther and Jessica are resting up for the Team Sprint on Sunday, as is Phil who will team up with Callum.

Full results are available on the FIS site and also on the Falun 2015 site.

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