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2004 Masters World Cup
Brusson, Italy - February 4-11, 2006

Aussies at Masters World Cup - Brusson 2006
Report by Warren Feakes
 

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The 2006 Masters World Cup was held in the Valle d'Aosta at Brusson from 4th to 11th February this year. There were 1100 competitors from 25 countries competing. Our dozen Aussies was not the smallest team, Andorra had three, but we paled in comparison to the 200 Russians, 160 Italians and 170 or so Italians.

For Australia, the tribal elders, Lenny Harrison, Bill Hamilton and Stan Macdonald were there, then in order of age, Bob Cranage, Warren Feakes, Adrian Blake and Peter Cunningham, Zac Zaharias, and Bob Dunn. The ladies were Debbie Feakes, Camille Melvey and Irene Dunn.

Masters racing is run in five year age categories from 30 years up. All races are mass starts with start grid positions based on previously gained race points. The grid is 20 lanes across, offering a compelling visual spectacle. Age groups generally start 10 minutes apart.

Skiers can enter three races; each in a choice of technique plus each nation can put in as many relay teams as they can muster. The races are spread over eight days and the distances are:

Men 30 to 59 years

30 km, 10 km, 45 km.

Difficult track

Men 60 to 74 years

15 km, 10 km, 30 km

Less difficult track

Men 75 years and over

10 km, 5 km, 15 km,

Easier track

Women 30 to 69 years

15 km, 10 km, 30 km

Less difficult track

Women 70 years and over

10 km, 5 km, 15 km,

Easier track

Relays

4 x 5 km

2 classic, 2 Free Technique

The stated emphasis of the WMA is on participation by competitive skiers who have retired from open competition and who no longer consider themselves candidates for open National teams. There are no National qualifying standards for Masters but it seems to be an International racing venue for ex-Olympians, ex-World Cup and World Championship skiers as well as National Team members who are past their prime. As the "participation" term is taken literally, there is a wide variation in racing ability and 'also-ran' skiers like myself, feel quite comfortable competing with the "ex-elites"

This year produced an unprecedented result for Aussie Masters at MWC. Camille Melvey has come home with a GOLD Medal and two SILVER Medals from her three events.

  • In the 15 km Free technique, Camille was a convincing winner, in a time of 41'56.7" This was 34.1 seconds clear of second place and was the fastest time of all female skiers competing in all age groups.
  • In the 10 km Classic technique Camille was second in a time of 29'34.5, only 1.4 seconds behind the winner Kirsten Drexler of Germany. This was the third fastest time of all female competitors.
  • In the 30 km Free technique: Camille Melvey was second in a time of 1:22'21.9", only 48.7 seconds behind winner Barbara Haesch of Germany and again third fastest time of all female competitors.

    There were fine performances and PB's from the other Aussie skiers as well, many of us getting inside that magical 25% behind that is a realistic goal in this standard of competition. Of note was Adrian Blake's result in the 45 km Freestyle where he was 45th out of the 68 skiers in that race and less than 15% behind the winner and the magnificent Aussie 4 x 5 km relay team that maintained their record of leading from the rear. Full results will be published in the next edition of XC News.

    Janette Hamilton has been Australian National Director for the Masters for 20 years and has now handed over the role to me. The 2007 Masters World Cup will be in Rovaniemi, Finland from 2nd to 10th March and we need more participants. This will be a great event in an area on the Arctic Circle known as the home of Santa Claus. Zac Zaharias and I are already planning a training itinerary for the month leading up to the competition and I have reserved accommodation in Rovaniemi for the event.

    If you have even a passing interest, don't hesitate to contact me or other skiers who have competed in the past. Have a look at WWW.MWC2007.com , or contact me direct at wfeakes@netspeed.com.au or ph 0417209360.

    Warren Feakes
    National Director - Australia
    World Masters Cross Country Ski Association 

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