Haywood RACE Report: Day 2 wrap-up Ski Tour Canada
March 3, 2016
A week ago, Montreal had lots of rain and freezing rain, leaving a thick layer of ice on the trails at the bottom of Mont Royal. Yesterday, Mother Nature helped make the trails a bit more inviting, dumping a thick layer of fresh snow on the trails for Day 2 of the Ski Tour Canada.
The top of Mont Royal in the background, topped by the cross that overlooks the eastern part of the city.
Today's races were 10.5 and 17.5 classic mass-start races, held in a park, in the middle of downtown, in a city with a population of 1.65 million, not an everyday occurrence on the World Cup ski circuit.
There was once again some great crowds around the course, giving the Canadians some added incentive to dig deep and come up with some great performances.
The fresh snow made the tracks soft, and there wasn't enough humidity in the snow to firm up the tracks or bind with the occasional icy patch. This contributed to an early fall by Martin Johnsrud Sundby and a large crash in the women's race that claimed a fair number of the Canadians and left equipment carnage on various parts of the course.
Alex following Didrik Toenseth, (Nor.) and Russians Andrey Larkov and Maxim Vylegzhanin
Men's race full coverage http://bit.ly/1p06n7y
Women's race full coverage http://bit.ly/1po8txY
With high winds, blowing snow and soft tracks, the races were challenging, it was a matter of being flexible and meeting those challenges. The World Cup team came through with some fine performances, 3 men in the top 30; and some good improvements in the Tour standings, Alex 10 > 6; Devon 50 > 17; Ivan 78 > 33. Emily Nishikawa made a great comeback from a bad fall, where she lost lots of seconds, and still register a decent 45th, in a tough field.
Emily Nishikawa leading, following in red, Dahria Beatty, Cendrine Browne and blue Alannah MacLean
Ivan Babikov: "That was a tough race, and took a lot of energy to ski through traffic from 78th place, but happy to finish in the points. 2nd stage,29th pl"
Marie Corriveau, showing strong determination after battling some sickness at the recent World Junior Championships. Marie along with Kate Ogden of the U.S. are the youngest skiers on Ski Tour Canada, both with another year of junior eligibility
The development skiers also had some good results, while gaining more invaluable experience. Of particular note is that of all the Canadians that started Ski Tour Canada, none have been lapped and required to drop out of the series, a common occurrence in other Tours. With a sprint on Day 3, they will definitely get another 2 days of World Cup racing under their belts.
The brother and sister combo of Patrick and Katherine Stewart-Jones had strong races today. Katherine a 1st year senior was the 3rd Canadian in 52nd and Patrick was just behind Len Valjas in 64th, the 7th Canadian.
02.03.2016, Montreal, Canada (CAN): Katherine Stewart-Jones (CAN), Andrea Dupont (CAN), (l-r) - FIS world cup cross-country, mass women, Montreal (CAN). www.nordicfocus.com. © Felgenhauer/NordicFocus.
Next up, another skate sprint on Friday in Quebec City. With yesterday's snowfall of close to 30 centimetres in Quebec City, it will be a harsh reminder for the Europeans that skiing is a winter sport. Fortunately the temperatures forecast for the next 2 races should be a bit kinder to the spectators than the first 2 days were.
Devon striding through the field from 50th to 17th
Jess Cockney followed by Michael Somppi
Lenny Valjas, red, followed by Michael Somppi, dk. blue