German Cup Races

The first of a two day series of races in the German Cup at the Notschrei in the Black Forest was a sprint held on Saturday. Five Australian Team memebers contested the sprint, with Esther Bottomley joining the boys for her first race of the season. The sprint field was comprised almost entirely of German skiers (surprise), with a few Canadian skiers and a Brazilian in the mix.

Callum Watson, 6th 10km Freestyle

In the qualification time trial, Esther Bottomley posted a time to earn her a spot in the finals in 12th position, and moved well through the final rounds to finish up in 5th place. Callum Watson, Phillip Bellingham and Paul Kovacs qualified in 11th, 29th and 48th positions respectively, all moving through to the senior men’s heats. Mark Pollock also contested the combined senior/junior time trial finishing in 57th. Watson finished in 10th place, Bellingham in 15th, Kovacs in 21st and Pollock 22nd in the final men’s standings.

In Sunday’s distance event, Esther Bottomley finished 13th in the women’s 7.5km Freestyle, 1:46 minutes back from the winner Canadian Chandra Crawford. Callum Watson was the first of the Australian men finishing in 6th place, 1:17 minutes back from winner Len Valjas, who made it a Canadian double. Watson managed to finish just under the 100 FIS point mark. Phil Bellingham came in 21st, 2:50 minutes off the pace, and Paul Kovacs was next a further 2:16 back. Mark Pollock rounded out the Australian men in 48th, 21 seconds back from Kovacs.

After the races the guys had the following to say:

Callum Watson: “The Sprint was relatively short, with a winner’s time just over 2min40s, however with 2 major climbs and a tough flat, fast and technical finish it was a real leg burner. I am really happy with how I skied. The 10km Skate on Sunday gave us very tough conditions with fresh snow that seemed to compact and glaze creating a very unstable feel. I felt really good on the climbs and had great recovery on the downs, however struggled to relax on the flats were the unevenness of the snow was the worst. The result was quite decent and I finished in 6th place overall.”

Phil Bellingham: “Was pretty happy with how my weekend of racing went, in the sprint I would have liked to be a few less seconds back off the winner of the time trial but was happy that I still made heats. In my heat I was a little disappointed as I beleive I could have come in the top two but I got boxed in multiple times and couldn’t get round and came in 3rd. In the 10km skate I felt I skied as well as I could have and made myself hurt fairly well and was happy with the result.”

Paul Kovacs: “I was pretty happy with the Sprint, it’s not too often I make it to the heats. My heat was pretty brutal, it was a cracking pace from the gun. In terms of tactics, I was really happy how I skied, very aggressively which was the plan, I just didn’t have the legs to hold on in the end. The Distance was a little disappointing, I was planning for another repeat of Campra but felt I was missing another gear in my legs. Perhaps I was just too cooked from the day before.”

Aus XC Team at Weiler in den Bergen

The guys were once again happy to have the race support of Ben Sim and Fabian Mauz, along with Finn Marsland.
Coach Finn Marsland said of the weekend’s races, “Racing is great training and it was good for Esther in particular to get some races under her belt before her first World Cup next weekend. Callum and Phil picked up some good finals experience in the sprints, getting right amongst it in the rounds. I think the form of everyone in this group is on the way up at the moment and I’m looking forward to the races coming up throughout January.”

The group is now training in Seefeld, Austria, where they have plenty of snow and excellent trails to ski on. Esther, Callum and Phil will compete in the Milan City Sprint World Cup next weekend.

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