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Simi Hamilton takes 11th in Ostersund sprint

Mon, Feb  16, 2015 - By USSA

OSTERSUND, Sweden (Feb. 14, 2015) – Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) led the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team at the Ostersund World Cup Classic Sprint event, finishing 11th. Teammate Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) finished 12th.  The U.S. qualified four skiers to the rounds: Hamilton, Newell, Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) and Sadie Bjornsen (Wintrhop, WA).

“It was a bit of a bittersweet day because my energy felt good and it’s hard not to be psyched with skiing into the semis, but I still feel like I had more to show out there, especially since that fall was my own fault.” Hamilton explained of the effort.

Andy Newell echoed the sentiment, “I think there was probably a fall or a tangle up in every single heat so you either had some good luck, bad, or even a little bit of both out there.”

Simi Hamilton, shown here racing earlier this season in Davos, led the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team today in Ostersund, Sweden. (Getty Images/AFP-Pierre Teyssot)

Simi Hamilton, shown here racing earlier this season in Davos, led the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team today in Ostersund, Sweden. (Getty Images/AFP-Pierre Teyssot)

Conditions were fast, but the winding, technical course made for tricky kicking and many falls throughout the day. The course was unique in its very steep classic climbs.

“The course was breaking down a bit-getting quite sugary and deep on the climbs and when I went into that quick herringbone on the 2nd hill on the 1st lap, my right ski got caught in the sugar a bit and I planted my right pole thru my top sheet," said Hemilton. "I was able to make contact with the group again but it definitely came at a cost and I just didn’t have the energy to put in a solid last 200 meters."

“I've never skied a course like that before, but it was really fun," said Caldwell. "It was interesting because it definitely wasn't a double pole course, but it also wasn't a striding course. It was a herringbone course, which is not something we experience very often,I worked really hard over the past couple weeks to recover and improve my upper body strength and I felt like today's result reflected that for me. It's always a bummer when you get placed in the same heat as your teammate, because it makes it tougher for you both to move on, but Sadie and I made the most of it and had a fun day together.”

The Ostersund World Cup concludes with a 10k / 15k Freestyle event.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Simi Hamilton led the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team with an 11th place finish in the Ostersund Classic Sprint.
  • Andy Newell finished 12th.
  • Sadie Bjornsen led the U.S. women in 20th. Sophie Caldwell finished 22nd.
  • Marit Bjoergen (Norway) won the women’s event to extend her lead on the overall World Cup title.
  • Finn Hagen Krogh (Norway) bested Canadian Alex Harvey in the men’s race.

QUOTES
Simi Hamilton
It was a bit of a bittersweet day because my energy felt good and it’s hard not to be psyched with skiing into the semis, but I still feel like I had more to show out there, especially since that fall was my own fault. The course was breaking down a bit-getting quite sugary and deep on the climbs- and when I went into that quick herringbone on the 2nd hill on the 1st lap, my right ski got caught in the sugar a bit and I planted my right pole thru my top sheet. I was able to make contact with the group again but it definitely came at a cost and I just didn’t have the energy to put in a solid last 200 meters. 

But all and all, I’m encouraged about today, especially for what it means heading into World Champs. I feel like my classic sprinting is in a good place right now and I think my over all fitness is the best it’s been in my career so far.

Andy Newell
I've been feeling a lot better the past two weeks healing up my sprained neck and it also seems like my allergy problems have cleared up, so I'm pretty excited about that. 

Today was really close to being an awesome day I think. I was able to make some quick maneuvers out on course and felt comfortable with the speed. I think if I could have been just a little more aggressive I could have advanced but it was also a very unique and tricky course. It's definitely a very different course than what we will see next week at Worlds but it was fun regardless. 

I think there was probably a fall or a tangle up in every single heat so you either had some good luck, bad, or even a little bit of both out there. 

So although I'm always wanting more than a top 12 I'm excited for things to come because of how I'm feeling. In a lot of ways I feel like my season is just getting started now that I'm healthier and injury free. We will travel to Falun tomorrow to get ready for the World Champs sprint

Sophie Caldwell
That was one crazy sprint! I've never skied a course like that before, but it was really fun. It was interesting because it definitely wasn't a double pole course, but it also wasn't a striding course. It was a herringbone course, which is not something we experience very often.

I was happy with my day. It was my second classic sprint of the season and the first classic sprint I've qualified in, so I see it as a step in the right direction.

I worked really hard over the past couple weeks to recover and improve my upper body strength and I felt like today's result reflected that for me. It's always a bummer when you get placed in the same heat as your teammate, because it makes it tougher for you both to move on, but Sadie and I made the most of it and had a fun day together.

I was really happy to see Sadie have a solid day, and to watch Andy and Simi ski so well. It was a funky course, but I think as a team we did a good job making the best of it!

Sadie Bjornsen
It was so much fun today. It was a much different race than I have ever participated in, but I think it is really fun to add some extra challenge and twist to racing every once in a while. I am glad it wasn't the World Championship course, but I had a huge blast visiting this course on the World Cup Circuit. I had some great feelings both in the qualifier and the heats. With the extra challenge of "no coaches, techs or athletes allowed on the course before the race", I didn't manage to nail my skis for the qualifier. Fortunately, I just snuck in to the heats, so I was given the opportunity for a better race in the heats. There was a lot of moving around, getting blocked up, and small opportunities out there. I feel like I found some openings, missed some openings, but finished feeling really confident with where my fitness is! I am really looking forward to  the sprint coming this thursday in Falun on the World Champs course!

I will only be doing the sprint this weekend as I will head to Falun tomorrow and start preparing for racing starting on Thursday. I really enjoyed visiting Ostersund for the first time. There was one of the more incredible World Cup Crowds I have seen today. The way the course was laid out, we literally skied through the grandstands twice- so the crowd added a special touch of excitement and motivation on the day. It was great to see and feel this great excitement in Sweden!

I especially enjoyed starting bib 14 on Valentines day- a great reminder to keep the day light and fun!

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