Australia returned to the World Cup circuit yesterday with six Australians lining up to start the classic sprint in Ostersund, Sweden. Jessica Yeaton and Xanthea Dewez made their World Cup debut joining Esther Bottomley, Phil Bellingham, Jackson Bursill and Paul Kovacs.

Looking from the grand stand towards the start line of the World Cup Sprint in Ostersund, Sweden

The race was spectacular with short ups, technical downs and a huge crowd. In the words of Xanthea Dewez: “The atmosphere before the start was pretty awesome! The stadium was also very cool.. When the first people or the Swedish were starting the crowd was so loud! And they went up those hills so quickly, it was amazing to watch. I have never seen anyone herringbone so fast up a hill!”  The racing was tight with many athletes falling on the fast corner or tripping as fought for position on the final climb. Marit Bjoergen from Norway won her 90th World Cup and Finn Haagen Krogh also from Norway won the male event.

The highest finishing Australians were Esther Bottomley who finished in 58th out of 64, 12% behind the winner and Phil Bellingham who finished in 79th out of 84, 10% behind the winner. For almost all the Australians the snow texture did not suit their racing style. Really sugary snow meant it was hard to put a lot of power down or stay in the tracks in on the ups. Nonetheless all the Australians will be happy to have had the experience and the hit out before World Championships starts on Wednesday. 

Tomorrow (tonight Australian time) Esther, Xanthea and Jessica will race the 10km Skate World Cup whilst Callum Watson will join Phil and PK to race the 15km World Cup. All athletes will then travel to Falun for the start of the World Championship on Wednesday.


Men’s Qualifying

1. Timo Andre Bakken, NOR, 2:28.25

2. Toni Ketelae, FIN, 2:28.47

3. Sondre Turvoll Fossli, NOR, 2:28.48

79. Phillip Bellingham, AUS, 2:43.50

83. Paul Kovacs, AUS, 2:55.91

84. Jackson Bursill, AUS, 2:59.71

84 starters

Ladies Qualifying

1. Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes, NOR, 2:47.00

2. Maiken Caspersen Fall, NOR, 2:49.03

3. Celine Brun-Lie, NOR, 2:49.36

58. Esther Bottomley, AUS, 3:08.23

61. Jessica Yeaton, AUS, 3:14.42

64. Xanthea Dewez, AUS, 3:23.91

64 starters

Men’s Final

1. Finn Haagen Krogh, NOR

2. Alex Harvey, CAN

3. Timo Andre Bakken, NOR

Women’s Final

1. Marit Bjoergen, NOR

2. Maiken Caspersen Falla, NOR

3. Stina Nilsson, SWE


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