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.

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