After a promising first race of the 2015/16 cross-country season, British Nordic Headcoach, Roy Young, provides a summary of Saturday’s skate time trial and Sunday’s classic sprint.

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On Saturday, the course was the same as the day before; a winding course through the forest for 3.75 km.  The lack of snow that resulted in the large hill from the 5km course being cut from the weekend’s racing meant that Saturday’s skate race heavily favoured the use of skate two technique – also known variously as double dance and V2. 

The lady’s 7.5km opened the racing on Saturday with some fine snow falling. Annika started bib 43 as she had the day before. After successfully using other skiers to pace her race on Friday, she again managed to slip in step alongside non-other than Astrid Jacobsen the eventual third-place woman. Annika went off fast and ended up in 41st, but closer to the winner than she had been classic.

In the men’s race Muzzy was well seeded in among twelve World Cup podium applicants. The fine snow of the lady’s race had been replaced with fat wet flakes.  Andrew said he didn’t feel to great on the first lap and the lap time was a little off pace. However he picked it up in the second lap and his third was superb moving him into the top five. When he arrived at the coaching point for the last time the coaches had him in first place as he went past, but there was still Sundby to come who had been moving easily and quickly throughout the race and had a point to prove after his disqualification the day before. In the end Andrew had to settle for sixth place, which included a prize-giving appearance.

Sunday brought the sprint races. Waxing was more difficult with the new snow being affected by a rise in the temperature to +2 or +3. With three seconds making the difference between being in the quarter-finals and packing up, getting the right wax was vital. At this stage in the season the support team are trying to learn about the athletes skis and the way they ski them. The more the waxers know, the better they can prepare the skis. As a small team, the changing conditions put the Brits at a disadvantage compared to the Megacorp that is the Norwegian support team, but Asmund, the team’s main waxer rose to the challenge.

Annika went into the sprint looking to experience racing in such a high-quality field. The aim was to feel zippy on her skis and she was pleased with her performance and 47th position. Andrew Young fresh from his great result on Friday was looking to inspect the quarter-finals, however whether it was slightly slow skis or the result of his travel difficulties earlier in the week he was a little off the pace and missed the quarter-finals by three seconds.

The three Brits are all pretty please with how they performed this weekend. They feel the markers they put down encouraging and are looking forward to pushing on into the World Cup’s. Annika and Muzzy are going to continue to train on the good snow in Beitostolen before heading to Finland the first World Cup race of the season. Andrew Young we will be training in Lillehammer and racing nearby before flying to Davos for his first World Cup where he will also be joined after Kuusamo by Annika and Muzzy.

The support team at this event was the main waxer Asmund and Roy Young. Andrew Musgrave was supported by his pro-team, lease plan go. Andrew Young supported by his pro team Synnfjell.  The British team tries to work closely with both of these Norwegian teams when the guys are racing in Norway. (There was also support of friends from the British biathlon team, and their coach Jacko).
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