CANMORE, AB (Dec. 13) - Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) held on for sixth in a FIS World Cup 10k classic mass start at Canmore Thursday, battling head-to-head in the pack behind a dominating win by Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk. It was a career best classic distance finish for Randall who is now third in the FIS Cross Country World Cup overall standings and fifth in distance. Action resumes with sprints Saturday. The USSA Network will broadcast live coverage at 2:30 p.m. EST at www.usskiteam.com. Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) was 14th in the men's 15k won by German Tom Tscharnke.
Kikkan Randall led the U.S. Ski Team finishing sixth in the women's 10k classic mass start in Canmore. (Robert Whitney)
It was a good hard effort and that was my number one goal for today. I definitely had to dig deep there at the end and I didn't play my cards right in the finish but overall I'm happy with the race. We knew Kowalczyk was going to set a hard pace at the beginning and then the Norwegians kind of went with her. I just tried to make sure to start the race at my own pace knowing that things would come back together in the middle hopefully. I'm really glad I did that because I even felt a little flooded on the first lap but then felt a lot better on the second and third laps.
I'm really happy with the effort. The season started out stronger than I thought and I'm really enjoying being considered one of the top distance skiers now. I still have to remember that I'm making small increments. It was really fun starting bib number one today and I wanted to go out and ski with what I had and know that winning could have been a possibility. I'm happy with the race. It was right in line with where I think I am right now.
It's a solid race. I would have loved to have been able to hang with the leaders but the last little bit wasn't there – I got loaded up.
I had a little bit of a rough start with the first half kilometer or so and kind of ended up kind of a ways back but I was able to move up pretty well and then I found myself up near the front but holding that position cost me big time. I'm a little disappointed with the end result because I just blew to pieces in the third lap.