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    • Haywood RACE Report: Dahria Beatty 23rd and Lenny Valjas 29th in Gallivare classic sprint

      November 19, 2017


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      It was another wintry day in Gallivare, with light snow and colder temperatures, as the classic sprint qualifiers got underway.


      Sweden's Hanna Falk and Oskar Svensson claimed the top spots in the qualifiers. Dahria Beatty was the only Canadian woman's entry and finished 28th, to move on to the quarterfinals.

      Dahria Beatty

      On the men's side, Lenny Valjas was the sole Canadian qualifier, finishing 24th. Julien Locke was 39th, just 2 seconds from qualifying. Knute Johnsgaard was 40th, Russell Kennedy 43rd, Jesse Cockney 48th and Jack Carlyle 105th.

      Women's qualifying results
      Men's qualifying results

      As in the previous 2 races there was a "ton of Russians" competing, with this event being used for World Cup team selection. Their presence was not without controversy with clean athletes all looking for positive leadership from FIS and the IOC.

      Dahria was drawn against Swedish veteran Anna Hagg and Evgenia Shapovalova of Russia, who has been banned by the IOC from competing in Pyeongchang due to Sochi doping offenses. 

      It was Shapovalova and Nadine Faehndrich of Switzerland that led in the early stages of the race, with Dahria Beatty sticking close to the leaders in 4th and 5th position. Near the finish, Haag put on a burst of speed to edge ahead of Faehndrich, as the 2 qualified for the semis comfortably.  Dahria finished 5th in the heat.

      In the men's race Lenny's main competition was Russian's Gleb Retivykh, Nikita Kriukov and Sweden's Calle Halfvarsson. 


      Lenny seemed boxed out a bit at the start, as Retivykh led out strongly, followed by Halfvarsson. Lenny never made up any ground on the leaders as Halfvarsson grabbed the heat win, and Lenny finishing 6th.

      The women's race was won by Swedish sprint star Stina Nilsson, by almost 2 seconds over Russia's Natalia Matveeva. Oskar Svensson narrowly edged out his fellow countryman Teodor Peterson in the men's final.

      Dahria Beatty finished 23rd, and Lenny Valjas 29th overall respectively.

      Women's heat results
      Men's heat results

      Final results: Women, Men

      Following the race Canadian coach Ivan Babikov expressed a general satisfaction with where the team is at, as they get ready for the start of the World Cup season in Kuusamo, Finland next Friday.

      The races were a chance to get back into the high level race environment and to get over the travel fatigue picked up on the way to Europe. Ivan cited Devon's strong results being partly due to the fact he had to just travel over from his home in Oslo, as well as a good preparation program for the season. He felt that while the overall results weren't super strong, it was early in a long season, with the main races over 2 months away on the other side of the world. For several teams these events were selection races for the World Cup and many of the other racers had been involved in more early season and summer racing, to help get their intensity levels up to compete already at the top level.

      The team had great conditions for their training camp in Gallivare, and will travel to Kuusamo on Tuesday to prepare for Friday's World Cup opener. Alex Harvey and Cendrine Browne, who have been training at altitude in Switzerland, will meet up with the rest of the team at that time.

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