NZ Winter Games – Mass Start Classic 10/15km

The second of the NZ Winter Games Cross Country Events ran today in tough, wet conditions. Some light rain overnight left the tracks hard on the flats, but softening quickly both out of the tracks and on the climbs.

The Women’s event was up first at 9:00am with 9 starters. Katerina Paul started strongly to get into a group with three Korean skiers, but struggled to keep her position in the closing laps to finish 8th. Not renowned as a distance skier, this result is hugely impressive as the three Koreans in her group had FIS distance points between 35 and 74 better. Alecia Phillips recovered strongly after a collision at the start with one of the Koreans to finish in 9th. Slovenian Barbara Jezersek finished strongly in 2nd place, 1min and 16 sec behind the winner Chae-Won Lee of Korea. Barbara’s comments from after the race included “I felt flat, like I was racing 50km, not 10km.” None-the-less a good showing by Barbara.

In the Men’s, starting at 10:00am with 12 starters, Australia was represented by Ewan Watson and Alasdair Tutt who finished 8th and 11th respectively and thus sandwiching two of the Canadian racers in the pack. The two skiers took different tactics on grip waxing (having both just finished providing wax support to two of the women in the field) Ewan choosing to go thin on grip and Alasdair chucking on an extra layer of klister just before the start. Ewan regretted his choice going up the major climb (containing two steep pinches and not much chance to rest afterwards) however made up ground on each lap, whilst Alasdair struggled to stay with the group on the 2.9km long double pole section at the start of each 3.75km lap having started out with the top 4 for the first kilometre.

Images from the NZ Winter Games can be found (and downloaded for free) at:

Sprint:

http://www.gettyimages.co.nz/search/events/552709033?family=editorial&assettype=image&sort=best&excludenudity=true&phrase=

Mass Start Classic:

http://www.gettyimages.co.nz/detail/news-photo/sang-mi-je-of-korea-and-brandy-stewart-of-canada-compete-in-news-photo/485613460

The NZ Winter Games and the Australia/New Zealand Continental Cup conclude tomorrow with a 5/10km Individual Start Freestyle with Daniel Sarri, Alasdair Tutt and Ewan Watson representing Australia in the men’s field and no Australian women starting.

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