NZ Winter Games 2015 – Classic Sprint

The NZ Winter Games kicked off today with a classic sprint under cloudy skies after a few days of magical sunshine. A small but competitive field containing: Australians, Koreans, Canadians, a New Zealander and a Slovenian raced over either 850m (Women) or 1700m (Men) on a loop containing a long, three-staged uphill and another short pinch before a long, downhill finish.

In the qualifying, Katerina (pronounced “Ket” or “Kit” in Kiwi) Paul finished third (about 4 seconds back) behind Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt from Canada and Barbara Jezersek from Slovenia. Alecia Phillips qualified 8th out of the field of 10, with 8 proceeding into the Semi-Finals.

In the Semi-Final Kat finished strongly alongside Bouffard-Nesbitt, with Barbara Jezersek winning her Semi with a clear margin of 40m.

In the Final, after finishing third, Kat commented, “It was hard, ey bru.” Barbara Jezersek from Slovenia came in just behind Bouffard-Nesbitt to finish second. Barbara added to Kat’s comments, “it was a wee bit tough as bru.” The race stayed together most of the way up the first major climb before disappearing, about 20m separated each of the three competitors at the finish. Alecia Phillips finished 4th in the B-Final to come 8th Overall.

In the Men’s Time Trial, Alasdair Tutt qualified third behind Stuart Harden of Canada and Eun-Ho Kim with only 1 second separating all three, with Ewan Watson qualifying in eighth not far behind. In the final Alasdair got a gap going through the lap but struggled with grip going up the climb for the second time to drop to fourth before making up ground on the downhill to just miss out on third place. The final order was Eun-Ho Kim of South Korea, Jun-Ho Hwang also of South Korea with Will Poffenroth of Canada in third. From a supine position on a piece of matting close to the finish line Alasdair said “I’m beached as bru.” Ewan Watson also finished 4th in the B-Final after a raging first climb before falling behind Stuart Harden of Canada, crowd favourite Andy Pohl of New Zealand and Seong-Beom Park of Korea.

Saturday is 10/15km Classic Event.

From across the pond,

The Australian XC contingent.

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