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Old 01-27-2008, 01:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Freeman Tops U.S. Effort in Canmore

CANMORE, Alberta (Jan. 25) - Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) fought through single-digit cold Friday to finish 29th in a 15K freestyle technique World Cup race and record the top U.S. finish on the third of four days of racing at the 1988 Olympic venue. Racing concludes Saturday with freestyle sprints.

Unheralded Italian Valerio Checchi won the men's 15K with a time of 36:04.6 and Germany's Rene Sommerfeldt was second in 36:12.9. Freeman, working his way back from sickness earlier in the month, finished in 37:32.9.

USSA Cross Country SuperTour overall leader Garrott Kuzzy (Hayward, WI) was 34th in 37:51.7 and SuperTour distance leader Leif Zimmermann (Bozeman, MT) was 38th. Temperatures ranged from seven degrees F. at the start of the women's race to 12 degrees by the end of the men's race.

Valentina Shevchenko of the Ukraine won the women's 10K FR. Her time was 26:46.7, a half-minute ahead of Russian Evgenia Medvedeva. World Cup newcomer Kate Arduser (Anchorage, AK), competing in her third race of the week, topped the U.S. women, finishing 39th.

"This was a really good day for Garrott Kuzzy and Leif, and it's got to be the best skate race from Kate, so those are definitely positive developments to have them ski that well. I'm really pleased with what they did," U.S. Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said.

"Kris started conservatively and was 14th after the first lap but midway through the second lap he started losing some time. He just doesn't have his fitness level back," Vordenberg said. "He's handling it well, but we all know he can do so much better when he's healthy. Unfortunately, he's not healthy, not even close to his real potential, this week. He's getting better every day, but Kris certainly is not there yet."

The four days of racing - the first World Cup races in North America in two seasons - conclude Saturday with qualifying starting at noon ET (10 a.m. MT). Finals will be held at 2:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. MT).

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