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    • Haywood RACE Report: Broken pole thwarts Canada's advance to World Cup final in Dresden

      January 14, 2018

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      The sun came out in Dresden today for the Team Sprint event along the Elbe river. The temperatures were a couple of degrees above zero, making pleasant viewing for the many spectators that lined the course for the event.

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      Canada had 2 mens teams entered, both drawn in the same semifinal.

      "Canada A" included Bob Thompson and yesterday's 15th place finisher Julien Locke, with "Canada B" teaming up Antoine Briand and Dominique Moncion-Groulx. Julien Locke described the race as "crazy mayhem", and at one point he had to jump over Baptiste Gros of France who had crashed in the semi.

      Dominique Moncion-Groulx had his team in 6th after the 1st set of laps, setting the fastest lap time, .12 seconds better than Norway's Johannes Klaebo. Unfortunately, the team couldn't maintain the pace, hindered by a broken pole, and finishing 13th in the semi.

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      "Canada A" were back a bit at the start, completing the first round in 10th. They moved up the field mid race and were 8th at the start of the final lap.

      On the last uphill Julien Locke was positioned well for a strong finish.Unfortunately one of Julien's poles was clipped and snapped in the final 100 metres and he had to free skate to the line finishing 7th. Despite the break Julien had the 4th fastest, finishing lap time and the team just missed moving on to the finals by .17 seconds.  6 of the 10 teams advanced to the final from their very competitive heat.

      In the final Federico Pellegrino put in a devastating final sprint to cruise to victory for the Italians. Sweden and Russia finished 2nd and 3rd.

      Norway had had a large lead in the mid-section of the race, but couldn't keep it, finishing 5th. This would be the first World Cup race Johannes Klaebo has entered this season, where he didn't make the podium. The US women continued with their string of podium performances finishing 3rd, behind 2 Swedish teams.

      "Canada A" finished 7th in their heat, 13th overall, with "Canada 2" finishing 25th.

      Semifinal Results
      Final Results

      It was a bit of a frustrating day for Bob and Julien, as they were both feeling strong, with good skis and felt confident of advancing to the finals to put forth a good performance.

      All the team members were happy with their efforts today, feeling they had coped with the quick trip to Europe well and had been able to rapidly get up to speed with pace of World Cup racing.

      One of the more interesting features of the race was the Dresden tiger. It was presumably designed to mark the permanent anchor monument situated right in the middle of the course. Perhaps we will see more wild animal/sponsor mascots in future events, similar to those from N. American pro sports.

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      The Canadian group will now head to Ramsau, Austria for some training and then travel to next weekend's World Cup races in Planica, Slovenia.

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