ERZURUM, Tur.—Graeme Killick led the next generation of Canada’s Olympic cross-country ski athletes in 15th spot in a 30-kilometre skiathlon race at the Under-23 World Championships in Erzurum, Turkey on Saturday.
One day removed from his 23rd birthday, Killick of Banff, Alta., was well positioned in the top-10 with the world’s best of his age group for the first 26 kilometres of the race before crashing on an icypatch on a downhill of the extremely tough course located in high altitude.Killick rebounded to finish 15th with a time of 1:17:15.0.
“It was a fantastic race for Graeme and who knows what could have happened if he didn’t crash. A top-10 or top-six was right there for him today,” said Eric de Nys, coach, Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team. “Graeme had really good skis today and was in control. This is a really difficult course that pushes the limit of altitude for a World Cup so it was a good day for sure.”
The skiathlon combines 15 kilometres of skiing in the classic technique, followed by an additional 15 kilometres of skate-skiing. Athletes enter a transition zone between the two legs to change equipment while the clock continues to run.
Russia’s Raul Shakirzianov won the men’s skiathlon with a time of 1:16:30.9. Russia’s Evgeniy Belov skied to the silver with a time of 1:16:31.8, while Germany’s Hannes Dotzler claimed the bronze at 1:16:32.0.
Calgary’s Jesse Cockney was also on pace for a solid outing before crashing on a left corner coming off a steep downhill at the 14 kilometre mark of classic-skiing portion of the race. Cockney held on for 29th spot and a time of 1:20:16.3.
Other Canadian men’s results included: David Greer, of Whitehorse, in 35th at 1:21:10.6; and Chris Hamilton, of Thunder Bay, Ont., in 40th (1:22:50.9).
Meanwhile, Emily Nishikawa, of Whitehorse, led a trio of Canadians in the women’s 15-kilometre skiathlon. Nishikawa placed 27th with a time of 47:35.9.
Norway’s Martine Hagen won the women’s race with a time of 43:52.5, while Italy’s Debora Agreiter clocked a silver-medal time of 44:06.4, and Sweden’s Emma Wiker grabbed the bronze at 44:27.0.
Other Canadian results included: Annika Hicks, of Canmore, Alta., in 33rd (48:55.7), and Calgary’s Marlis Kromm finished 36th at 50:59.6.
The Junior and Under-23 World Championships wrap up on Sunday in Turkey with the relay races.
Cross Country Canada is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 55,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those onCanada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, Teck Resources Ltd., Canadian Pacific, and Statoil – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and Own the Podium, Cross Country Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on Cross Country Canada, please visit us at www.cccski.com
Complete World Junior Results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=30432&;cal_suchsector=CC