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    • Haywood RACE Report: Graham Ritchie 11th in World Junior Champs sprint

      January 28, 2018

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      The opening races at the World Junior/ U23 Championships in Goms, Switzerland were the junior sprints. It was a sunny day, with temperatures just below as the athletes headed out on the sprint qualifiers.


      In the women's qualifier Moa Lundgren of Sweden set the pace, with Hannah Mehain in 27th, the only Canadian to qualify for the heats. Annika Richardson was 52nd, Catherine Reed-Metayer 56th and Alexandra Racine was 69th.

      Hannah Mehain

      On the men's side the whole Canadian group were in the top 36, a strong showing at the Worlds. The top qualifier was Antoine Cyr, with Graham Ritchie also qualifying in 28th place. 0.2 seconds separated Reed Godfrey from qualifying as he finished 31st, and Étienne Hébert was 36th.

      Graham Ritchie getting ready for the heats

      In the heats Hannah Mehain gave it a good effort but finished 6th, and out of the semis in 29th overall. Moa Lundgren was the winner.

      Antoine Cyr was the first Canadian to start the quarterfinals. He skied in the pack for the first part of his heat but faded near the end, to finish 6th.

      Graham Ritchie showed that it is "not over until it's over" in his quarterfinal, moving from 4th to 2nd on the final straight to the finish, and lungeing through to the semis.

      In the semis, Graham had a good start, but "ran out of gas" on the final big climb to finish 6th and 12th overall on the day. Antoine Cyr ended up 30th.

      France's Tom Mancini, the winner of Graham's semi, was the overall winner.

      Audio interview with Hannah Mehain

      Audio interview with Graham Ritchie

      Next up tomorrow the U23 sprints. The qualifiers should be Live Streamed at 04:30 EST with the heats at 06:30 EST.

      Also today at the Craftsbury SuperTour race, Andy Shields finished 2nd and Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt was 7th, for the top Canadian performances.

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