• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
    • CCC RACE Report: Canada skis to 13th in Women's 4 X 5k relay

      February 17, 2018

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      It was a fairly pleasant night, just below zero deg. C. in Pyeongchang as the women's 4 X 5km. relay got underway at the Alpensia Ski Centre. There were large crowds at the stadium as there is a 3 day holiday, due to the Korean lunar New Year.

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      Close up of the tracks and corduroy courtesy of Canadian Dirk Van Wijk, who is grooming the course

      Leading off for Canada would be Dahria Beatty, followed on the 2nd classic leg by Emily Nishikawa and then with Cendrine Browne and Anne-Marie Comeau doing the skate portions.

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      The Canadian team in relay order.

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      Dahria heading to the start

      Canada was looking to improve upon the 10th place result at last year's World Championships in Lahti, with 3 of the 4 athletes returning.

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      Dahria was with the main group for the first part of the leg, before fading back to 13th by the exchange about 20 seconds behind France who were in 12th.

      For Canada that was pretty much how it stayed, with Emily Nishikawa (10th fastest on her leg) and Cendrine Browne gaining a few seconds and losing a few seconds on the French, and Anne-Marie Comeau skiing the anchor leg to finish about 25 seconds back.

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      So all in all not quite what was hoped for, finishing 4.50 seconds off the lead versus 4.16 in Lahti. Butit was 1 place, and time wise much better than Sochi where they finished 6.10 off the lead and actually 14th, if you count the Russian team that was disqualified for doping.

      At the front of the race it was Norway that was the big story, where Ragnhild Haga and Marit Bjoergen, brought their team back from 4th place and 30 seconds from the lead at the 1/2 way point, for Bjoergen's 7th Olympic gold medal. On the final lap it was a battle head to head between Stina Nilsson of Sweden, the young gold medalist in the sprint, versus the veteran Bjoergen, with Norway coming out on top by 2 seconds at the line.

      Results

      Audio Interview Dahria Beatty

      Audio Interview Emily Nishikawa

      If you missed the race, you can watch it here: Race replay on CBC

      Next up tomorrow the men's 4 X 10 km. relay at 01:15 AM EST on CBC and also live streamed.

      The men's relay will have a different makeup as Alex Harvey won't participate, to focus on the Team Sprint and the 50k. It is too much for even the top athletes to perform at their best level in every race at the Olympics and almost all of Alex's competitors will be limiting their number of starts to maximize performance and maintain energy levels.

      The relay team will likely consist of Lenny Valjas, Russell Kennedy, Graeme Killick and Knute Johnsgaard, with Alex and Lenny slated for the Team Sprint at this time. Devon Kershaw who has had some minor asthma issues will sit out the next races to focus on the 50k, where he finished 5th in 2010.

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