ASIAGO, Italy (Dec. 21) - Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) led the USA Saturday with a strong 10th in a classic sprint in Asiago. Four American women and two men qualifed for finals including Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), who was fifth fastest. Only Sargent advanced past the quarterfinals. Russia's Nikita Kruikov took the men's win with Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk powering to victory for the women. A team sprint is set for Sunday.
Today was fun and a good confidence booster. I had felt like my fitness was stronger than my results were showing, so it was nice to get back in the top 10 today.
I'm not happy with the result today. I wanted more. But I tried hard with what I had in the body today and it just wasn't quite enough. With classic for me there is a certain zone both with intensity and body position. If I get in that zone I am really strong but if I sit just below it I struggle. Today I was just below that optimal zone.
It was definitely a good course to lead from the front if you were able. I had an okay start but didn't carry my speed well across the flats. I pulled myself back up to the leaders a couple times on the uphills but was scrambling too much and not able to match their pace. As I started to get tired in the last double-poling sections I didn't do a very good job of putting my power into my poles. I was in the fastest heat so if I could have kept myself a little closer I might have been able to sneak through as lucky loser. Just didn't quite have the gas today.
Really great to see all my teammates ski so strong again today. It definitely helps my spirits when I didn't advance past the quarterfinals to see that USA still had some strong chances!
Matt Whitcomb, Women's Head Coach
Qualifying all four women is hugely successful for us, and that impressive start to the day was backed by Newell (qualifying 5th) and Hamilton (qualifying 26th) making the rounds.
The sprint course in Asiago proved to be a race of tactics and ski selection strategy, especially for the men. While a few women chose to double pole on skate gear, including the fastest qualifier and the fourth place finisher in the final, nearly all men double poled the course.
We had very good skis for both men and women, and decided to have our women stride the qualifier and heats and our men double pole everything. Looking back on our decision, we feel it was the right one for the team.