Oslo 2011: Update #4 – Pursuits

The last two days in Oslo have seen the women’s 15km Pursuit and men’s 30km Pursuit. Though in the women’s race the fog was so thick the athletes were only spotted now and then. Esther Bottomley was 52nd in the 15km out of relatively small field of 56 starters. In the 30km Ben Sim was the only Australian to avoid being overlapped, finishing 62nd out of a field of 83.

Esther paced her first distance World Championship race quite well, moving up past Rosamund Musgrave from Great Britain after the first 2.5km lap and gaining on the next two skiers ahead of her leading into the change. Though Esther came out of the changeover just 15 seconds behind Brooke Gosling from Canada she never saw her in the fog and skied the entire skating leg alone – except for the cheers of the crowd as appeared in front of them out of the mist. Esther ended up 21.5% behind and was generally happy with the way she skied.

Simbo didn’t have the best start in the 30km Pursuit and took a while to move up past the Brothers Watson who did start quite well. Nick Grimmer was up there for a while as well then dropped off the pace a bit. Simbo came through to the pits in 60th place and made a lightening change to catch Tad Elliot from the USA. The two closed on Elliot’s team-mate Lars Flora for a while then with 7.5km to go Simbo started to drop off. At the end Simbo was happy to just soak in the atmosphere from the crowd, skiing in to 62nd a quite respectable 10.1% behind. Unfortunately the other three Australians were all lapped, Callum, Ewan and Nick officially placed in 68th, 69th, and 76th at the time of their overlapping – although Callum was actually in 67th when they pulled them from the course, the placing was taken from the previous time check. Ewan would definitely have made another lap and it would have been close to Callum, FIS still needs some tweaking of the overlapping rule. Callum and Ewan skied most of the classic leg together, then early on the skate Callum broke away.

An image or two will be posted soon, for a sneak preview look to Jeff Ellis’ blog.

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