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!

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