Catch-Up Report: Kat Paul

Kat Paul’s season so far can be split into three parts. The first was in late November and early December in which she raced very successfully on the USA Super Tour qualifying for senior finals in all of the sprint races she started. Her second phases involved US Championships and U23 World Championships both in Utah, USA. Her third phase is just beginning in Europe with World Championships in Lahti just around the corner.

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Lahti 2017 World Championship Team Named

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Australian Team at the recent World Cup in Pyeongchang. L-R Randy Gibbs (tech), Jessica Yeaton, Phillip Bellingham, Aimee Watson, Callum Watson, Paul Kovacs, Valerio Leccardi (coach), Paul Moore (tech). Additional athletes in team for Lahti: Barbara Jezersek, Katerina Paul, Nick Montgomery.

In form Aussies selected for World Championships

One of Australia’s strongest ever teams has been assembled to compete at the 2017 Cross Country World Championships, and they will be looking for personal best performances when they compete from 22 February – 5 March in Lahti, Finland.

“We have a really strong team of females and males with several experienced athletes leading our team at the World Championships,” Head Coach Valerio Leccardi said.

“Peaking at the right time, giving athletes fast competitive skis, and having a positive team environment would see some athletes achieve their potential of a top 30 result, and for all athletes to achieve their individual goals.” Continue reading

2017 World Junior-U23 Championship Daily V-Logs

Many AUSXC followers may already be up to date with the progress of the Australian Team at the World Junior/U23 Championships at Soldier Hollow. If not, this linked series of daily V-Logs from the team on Facebook gives a great glimpse of action on the tracks and behind the scenes.
U23 10km Freestyle
Casey Wright and Kat Paul in action again, finding the 10km a lot tougher than the Sprint.
Junior 5km and 10km Freestyle
Lilly Boland, Liam Burton and Seve de Campo all picked it up another level compared to their Classic Sprints, Gabi Hawkins and Jarrah Forrer made their World Junior debut, Ella Jackson was stoked to be on the start line after illness leading in to the championships.
U23 Classic Sprint
Casey Wright and Kat Paul made their U23 Worlds debut, Casey qualified for the finals in 25th place.
Junior Classic Sprints
Lilly Boland, Liam Burton, Seve de Campo and Matt Bull all in action at the World Juniors for the first time.
All results can be viewed via the FIS website. A big call-out also to flyingpointroad.com for amazing action pictures every day – keep a lookout for more via @ausxc and @flyingpoint on Instagram

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Valerio Leccardi appointed as new Australian Cross Country Head Coach

Australia is set to continue its proud history in Cross Country under the guidance of new Head Coach Valerio Leccardi, appointed by the Ski & Snowboard Australia Cross Country Committee.

The 32-year-old represented Switzerland at two World Championships and at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, as well as at over 40 World Cups.

“It`s great that I`ve been given the trust by SSA to coach the Australian athletes – they have a lot of potential and I am looking forward to help them achieving their goals,” Leccardi said.

img_0832“Giving up racing and training on a professional level was not easy for me. But by having the chance to pass on my passion and knowledge to the athletes will make the transition a lot easier. I am looking forward to also learning a lot from another perspective as a coach compared to an athlete. I feel privileged to still be able to do what I love, cross country skiing.”

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Team named for 2017 World Junior/U23 Championship

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Australian Junior/U23 Team training in Sun Valley

Junior Cross Country athletes ready to take on world’s best

Having enjoyed world-class preparation, a team of nine young Australian cross country stars are ready and raring to compete at the 2017 Junior & U23 World Championships in Soldier Hollow, USA.

The team has been based in Sun Valley, Idaho training with one of the best cross country programs in North America – the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF).

“We have been able to train at the same altitude and similar snow conditions to Soldier Hollow with some of the best young North American skiers,” Head Coach Robert Jones said. Three athletes from SVSEF will represent the USA at the championships.

“We also hit the jackpot in regards to preparation as the US Nationals were held at the Soldier Hollow course on the exact same tracks that we will race for the WJC/ U23’s. It was a good experience for our athletes as we could learn the conditions and get used to such a strong field. I would say this is the best preparation a junior team could have really!”

Casey Wright and Katerina Paul are set to make their U23 World Championship debut, having both previously represented Australia at the Junior World Championships.

“World Championships are coming around so quickly,” 20-year-old Paul said.

“I believe I have been set up for the season in the best possible way. I have had a good training base with easier “no pressure races” to warm up into before all my bigger races begin in the later part of the season.

“My overall goals would be to be in the best form possible for my bigger races. I hope I have given myself a good opportunity to do so.”

Making their Junior World Championships debut but no strangers to the world stage are Lilly Boland and Liam Burton. The young duo represented Australia at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, where they both achieved ground-breaking top 30 results.

“Leading into the Junior World Championships, I believe the experience of big stage skiing allows me to be comfortable in important races and knowledgeable of the task ahead, as well as how to approach it,” Burton said.

“After experiencing the level of my competitors and understanding what it takes to ensure a good result for myself and the country, I will be excited to stand on the start line in just over a week’s time for the World Junior Champs.”

The pair will be in good company, joined by 19-year-old Ella Jackson who competed at the 2016 Junior World Championship as well as four other young rising stars in the sport.

With four young men on the team, Australia will enter a junior men’s relay team for the first time since 1995.

“Cross country skiing in Australia is a small sport so we all become close friends through many hours of training and travelling together,” Boland said.

“Having a large team overseas is great in the sense that we motivate and support each other during events such as World Juniors which can be challenging both mentally and physically at times. Training with a larger team also gives me additional motivation during hard sessions so I can match teammates pace and technique.”

For Head Coach Robert Jones, the upcoming Championships in Soldier Hollow are about building for the future as much as they are about achieving immediate results.

“These events give us a chance to see where the level is and what we need to work on to get there,” Jones said.

“We have great training conditions at the National Training Centre at Falls Creek during the Australian winter, and strong domestic races, but it is hard to see how the athletes are going on a world scale.

“Although at this stage we aren’t looking to make podiums in these championships, all our athletes are still progressing and developing in the sport so one day down the track we can have athletes in the top 10’s on World Cup and Olympics. Simply being at these events is a good development process for our athletes as they can see how the best in the world prepare.”

The Championships will take place at Soldier Hollow, USA from 30 January – 5 February 2017.

The Australian Team for the 2017 Junior & U23 World Championships

U23 Athletes: Casey Wright, Katerina Paul,

Junior Athletes: Lilly Boland, Ella Jackson, Gabrielle Hawkins, Liam Burton,  Seve de Campo, Matthew Bull, Jarrah Forrer

Head Coach: Robert Jones

Assistant Coach/Manager: Georgia Merritt

Technicians: Bryan Cook (USA), Tom Smith (USA)

Event Schedule:

  • January 30 – Junior Classic Sprint
  • January 31 – U23 Classic Sprint
  • February 1 – Junior 5/10km Freestyle
  • February 2 – U23 10/15km Freestyle
  • February 3 – Junior 10/20km Skiathlon
  • February 4 – U23 15/30km Skiathlon
  • February 5 – Junior Relays

Follow the Australian Team @ausxc via social media.

A link to comprehensive updates about Paul Kovacs

Well my first trip down south to race is over. I flew back home to Alaska for a few days and then yesterday I packed my bags and this morning I boarded a plane heading for Europe. I fly to Stockholm and then up to Falun by train to race World Cups.

via Dancing between the storms — Paul Kovacs. Elite Cross-Country Skier

Catch-Up Report: Phil Bellingham

Phil Bellingham has been Australia’s most prominent World Cup racer so far this season competing in two World Cups and in two stages of the Tour de Ski. His highest finishes were 51st in Davos and 54th in Toblach.

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Photo taken from Phil’s Facebook.

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