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truebluefan 02-15-2008 07:51 PM

Freeman 16th, Best Race in Nine Weeks
OTEPAEAE, Estonia (Feb. 9) - Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) was 16th Saturday in a 15K classic technique World Cup race, his best performance in nine weeks. World Cup leader Lukas Bauer of the Czech Republic won the men's race while women's leader and defending champion Virpi Kuitunen of Finland captured the 10K CL race. Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) was 42nd.

Freeman, who was fifth Dec. 2 in a 15K classic race in Finland, has battled sickness since then. But Saturday, he skied into the three-lap race and finished with a time of 41.29.2. Bauer's winning time was 39:29.4 with Estonian Jaak Mae second in 38:43.1

Earlier, Kuitunen won the women's 10K in 28:10.5, putting her 9.3 seconds of teammate Aino Kaisa Saarinen. Randall, looking to added short-distance races to her traditional strength in sprinting, finished in 30:48.9.

A classic technique sprint is scheduled for Sunday. Americans Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) and Andy Newell (Craftsbury, VT) were 3-4 in the sprint a year ago.

Otepaeae, EST - Feb. 9, 2008
Men's 15K Classic
1. Lukas Bauer, Czech Republic, 39:29.4
2. Jaak Mae, Estonia, 39:43.1
3. Ville Nousiainen, Finland, 40:34.6
4. Andrus Veerpalu, Estonia, 40:40.2
5. Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset, Norway, 40:43.8
16. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH, 41:29.2
Women's 10K CL
1. Virpi Kuitunen, Finland, 28:10.5
2. Aina Kaisa Saarinen, Finland, 28:19.8
3. Therese Johaug, Norway, 28:28.1
4. Claudia Nystad, Germany, 28:29.5
5. Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland, 28:38.5.
42. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, AK, 30:48.9

truebluefan 02-15-2008 07:51 PM

OTEPAEAE, Estonia (Feb. 10) - Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) finished 25th Sunday in
OTEPAEAE, Estonia (Feb. 10) - Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) finished 25th Sunday in a classic technique World Cup sprint and Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) was 28th in a steady rain.

Norwegians, led by Eldar Roenning, took the top three places in the men's sprint. Newell led his quarterfinal heat but was passed with 150 meters to go and wound up not qualifying for the semifinal. Petra Majdic of Slovenia was the women's winner, edging Norway's Astrid Jacobsen.

"We've got some work to do," U.S. Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said. "I'm not sure what the problem is, or was, but we missed some opportunities today. Andy was dominating his heat, leading all the way, and then with about 150 meters left everyone blew by him. And Kikkan qualifying [i.e., top 30 in the time trial to determine matchups for the finals heats] in classic was good, but overall it wasn't a good day.

"It was rainy, the snow was chunky...but there are no excuses. We should have done better. Everyone skied in the rain, and over the same snow. We had excellent skis, so that wasn't the problem, either."

The next stop on the World Cup schedule is Liberec, Czech Republic, host of the 2009 FIS Nordic World Championships. Next weekend's schedule calls for men's 15K and women's 10K freestyle races Saturday - replacing pursuits because of the lack of snow - and classic technique team sprints Sunday.

Otepaeae, EST - Feb. 10, 2008
Men's 1.2K Classic Technique Sprint
(6 make finals)
1. Eldar Roenning, Norway
2. John Kristian Dahl, Norway
3. Ola Vigen Hattestad, Norway
4. Emil Joensson, Sweden
5. Peeter Kummel, Estonia
6. Anders Gloersen, Norway
28. Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT
32. Torin Koos, Leavenworth, WA
45. Chris Cook, Rhinelander, WI
Women's 1.2K CL Sprint
(6 make finals)
1. Petra Majdic, Slovenia
2. Astrid Jacobsen, Norway
3. Virpi Kuitunen, Finland
4. Aino Kaisa Saarinen, Finland
5. Seraina Michol, Switzerland
6. Pirjo Muranen, Finland
25. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, AK
45. Laura Valaas, Wenatchee, WA

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