Canada’s Dahria Beatty sprinted to the bronze medal at the Opa Cup in Pokljuka, Slovenia on Saturday.
Completing her final tune-up before hitting the start line on the World Cup next weekend in Davos, Switzerland, the 25-year-old put her summer training to the test where she crossed the line in third spot in the skate-sprint race.
“I felt strong in the heats and am happy with my podium finish,” said the Whitehorse-based Olympian. “It was a good opportunity to practice some more aggressive heat skiing and race tactics in a deep field with some regular World Cup sprinters.”
Qualifying for the round of 30 of the head-to-head heats in 17th spot, Beatty found another gear while making her way through to the final. Beatty won her quarter-final round before lunging to third place at the line in her semifinal heat.
Slovenia’s Katja Visnar was first, while her teammate, Vesna Fabjan was second.
“I was a bit too slow in the first half of the course in the qualifier, but this being my first race in Europe after travel, I was happy to see that change for the better throughout the rounds,” added Beatty. “The final result gives me good optimism and excitement heading into the World Cup next weekend.”
Quebec’s Antoine Cyr and Katherine Stewart-Jones Celebrate Silvers at Haywood NorAm in Canmore
On this side of the pond, Antoine Cyr and Katherine Stewart-Jones were the lone two Canucks to hop onto the podium at the season-opening Haywood NorAm Series race in Canmore, Alta.
The 21-year-old Cyr, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., paced each of his three laps around the 3.3-kilometre loop to perfection en route to clocking a time of 27:48.1 for second place in the challenging men’s individual start classic-ski race.
“We did a 10 kilometre training race here on same course a week ago so I knew how to pace the race, and skied well to get a good finish,” said Cyr. To know that I’m fast in Canmore is big for me. It is a really hard course, and tough to ski at altitude so I am really happy.”
Cyr shared the elite podium with two Americans. Zak Ketterson posted the golden time of 27:33.1. Benjamin Lustgarten finished five seconds behind Cyr for the bronze medal at 27:53.5.
It was a similar story in the women’s five-kilometre distance race with Katherine Stewart-Jones, of Chelsea, Que., in second spot sharing the podium with two American rivals of her own.
The 24-year-old National Ski Team athlete accomplished her podium goals with a steady effort on the rolling terrain at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Stewart-Jones finished 19 seconds off the leading mark at 15:17.8.
“I have a lot of confidence coming in from last season so I was hoping for the win today, but I put everything into it out there so can’t be disappointed,” said Stewart-Jones. “This result tells me my training Is paying off. It gives me a lot of confidence and is a good stepping-stone going into World Cup.”
Katharine Ogden captured the gold with a time of 14:58.1. Sydney Palmer-Leger clocked-in at 15:34.6 for the bronze.