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    • Haywood RACE Report: Laura Leclair 15th, Ricardo Izquierdo-Bernier 40th, top Canadians at u23 Worlds's sprint

      January 29, 2018

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      The first U23 Championships races got underway today in Goms, Switzerland, with continued excellent weather for ski racing and spectating, sunny, -5 deg. C.

      semis.JPG Katherine Stewart-Jones and Maya Macisaac-Jones ready to start at U23 sprint 1/4 finals

      Competition at the U23 Championships is tough, and the fastest women's qualifying time was set by Switzerland's Nadine Faehndrich. Faehndrich is a veteran World Cup racer, recently 14th in the Dresden World Cup, 19th on the Tour de Ski.

      The Canadians fared quite well with 3 skiers making the knockout heats. Maya Macisaac-Jones qualified in 19th, Katherine Stewart-Jones 21st and Laura Leclair 26th. Sophie Carrier-Laforte finished 34th.

      Laura Leclair

      On the men's side Norway's Erik Valnes set the standard. Valnes most recently came 22nd at the sprint World Cup in Dresden.

      Three Canadian men, Ricardo Izquierdo-Bernier, Antoine Briand and Philippe Boucher were the top North Americans, finishing less than 1/2 a second apart in 40th, 41st and 42nd position. Olivier Hamel was 60th.


      Laura Leclair raced in the 3rd, 1/4 final in which German Nadine Herrmann took the early lead. Due to quick thinking and agility, Laura managed to avoid a tangle and broken pole involving a French and Swedish athlete, that relegated them to the back.

      After a Russian skier went off the course on a downhill corner, Laura moved to 3rd place, finishing strongly, but a bit short of a qualifying position.

      Unfortunately Maya-Macisaac-Jones and Katherine Stewart-Jones were drawn into the same 1/4 final. Leading the way was Russian Olympian Natalia Nepryaeva, recently 11th overall on the Tour de Ski. Not far behind was Norway's Tiril Weng, 11th in the sprint at Saturday's, Seefeld World Cup.

      The Canadians were in the pack for most of the race, finishing 4th and 5th respectively, in a heat where 3rd place was a "lucky loser" position. Weng would go on to win the event, with Nepryaeva 3rd overall.

      In the final results, Laura Leclair finishes 15th, Maya Macisaac-Jones 18th and Katherine Stewart-Jones 23rd. Good performances against stiff competition.

      The Norwegian's swept the men's podium with Valnes the winner and Evan Northug 3rd. In the women's race Weng narrowly outstretched Faehndrich at the line.
      Women's Results
      Men's Results

      Next up tomorrow, the 5 and 10k classic World Junior Championship competitions.

      Check back later today for the Canadian Olympic Team announcement.

      Audio Interview: Laura Leclair - English
      Audio Interview: Laura Leclair - French

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