OPA Cup Oberwiesenthal, Germany – 13 Athletes, 1 wax tech and 1 manager.

Day 1, Sprint:
Today was the first of three OPA Cup, FIS races in Oberwiesenthal. With conditions changing overnight from -3 to -6 windblown, stick wax, to a down-poor of rain during the night and foggy/misty weather, our wax choice quickly turned from stick to klister. On arrival to the tracks Fabian (who at this race last year began working with our team on a number of occasions) had the wax chosen and our race skis ready to test.
The junior woman were off first, with Ash Spittle making it through to the heats in 28th position, Ash Kildea 32nd, 8sec back from Spittle and 6sec of qualifying, and Anna Trnka, 33rd, 11seconds off Kildea.
The senior woman, Bottomley, d’Arcy Baxter who has joined the team from Norway, and Philips, placed 16, 22, and 23 respectively. After the time trial the race organizers made a last minute change to the program, and decided to take 12 athletes through to the finals instead of 30, which left all three athletes missing out on the finals. Considering the busy race schedule this weekend the woman were not too disappointed with the decision.
Phil Bellingham and Rob Jones raced in the junior men. Phil skied well to qualify in 28th position for yet another sprint final, he’s yet to miss one this trip. Jones felt his top gear was not there and ended up in 51st place.
Mark Van de Ploeg, skied the fastest time of the Australian senior men and in doing so scraped into the mens final in 30th place 0.03 ahead of 31st. Grimmer was happy with how he skied the race and finished just 2 seconds outside the top 30 in 34th position. Ewan was a further 7seconds behind Nick.

Spittle, Bellingham and Van de Ploeg all skied hard in the heats. The long double pole section at the end of the course was a bit too long and Phil and Mark lost the back of the pack at this stage and placed 6th in their heats. Ash also placed 6th and was happy to have skied 3 seconds faster in the quarter final than in her time trial.

Tomorrow is the 10/15/20km pursuit. 6 Athletes will be starting and the rest will be training, giving drinks, and preparing for Sundays 5/10/15km Freestyle event.



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