by Chris Dornan
January 17, 2014, OBERSTDORF, Ger. (ISN) – Canada’s Para-Nordic athletes skied to the top step of the podium twice on Friday at the IPC World Cup in Oberstdorf, Germany.
Canmore, Alta. friends, Brian McKeever and Erik Carleton, remained unbeaten in the men’s visually impaired category this year, while Chris Klebl, also of Canmore, Alta. won his first IPC World Cup race in three years on a wet day in Germany.
Just one week after coming up short in his bid to qualify for Canada’s Olympic cross-country ski squad, McKeever wasted no time proving he is the top Para-Nordic athlete in the world after shattering the field by nearly one minute in the men’s 20-kilometre skate-ski race. Led by his guide, Carleton, McKeever clocked a golden time of 49:27.3 for his third straight victory of the season.
Russia’s Nikolay Polukhin and Andrey Tokarav were second at 50:11.9, while Stanislav Chokhlaev and Maksim Pirogov, also of Russia, teamed up for the bronze medal with a time of 51:32.9.
The golden trail to the podium continued for Canada in the men’s 15-kilometre sit-ski event where Chris Klebl stormed his way to the top of the podium for the first time in three years. Klebl hammered his away around the 15-kilometre men’s sit-ski course to set the time to beat at 36:52.6 to win his first race since winning the IPC World Championships in 2011.
“I had great skis in wet, sloppy conditions which I do well in,” said Klebl. “All three of my victories have occurred in these exact conditions. My fitness has been coming along really well. With the courses and conditions expected to be similar over the next few days, I am hoping for more of the same results.”
Klebl, who moved to Canmore, Alta. to join the Canucks from the United States in 2011. Klebl, who grew up in Austria where he skied and snowboarded became paralyzed from the waist down in 1995 in a snowboarding accident. He started competing in cross-country skiing in 2005.
Maksym Yarovyi, of the Ukraine, finished just four seconds off the leading pace set by Klebl for the silver medal with a time of 36:56.0. Russia’s Roman Petushkov rounded out the men’s sit-ski podium with a time of 37:33.0.
Ottawa’s Margarita Gorbounova was the only other Canadian woman to compete with her guide, Andrea Bundon, and finished sixth in the women’s 15-kilometre visually impaired skate-ski race to solidify her Paralympic spot.
The IPC World Cup continues on Saturday in Germany. For complete results, please visit http://www.ipc-weltcup.de/ergebnislisten/
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 58,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas,. 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.