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Australian Team Reports 1999/2000
World News
Program Summary  - Team Reports - Team Results

Mar 20 - End of World Cup for 1999/2000
Mar 19 - Martensen steals World Cup Title
Mar 13 - That Man, Harri Kirvesniemi
Mar 9 - Too Many Norwegians
Mar 6 - Lahti Pre-Worlds and Vasaloppet
Feb 29 - Well if you can't beat them...
Feb 21 - World Cup and FIS Marathon Cup movers
Feb 16 - Swiss World Cup
Feb 11 - Unseen Results
Jan 13 - Armchair Action
Dec 31 - Immer Wieder Schlickenrieder
Dec 20 - Viva Espania!?! - World Cup Action
Dec 8 - Websurf #2
Dec 1 - Action from around the world

Here are a few sites which put results up more quickly:
Eurosport Cross Country
World Ski Report
Sportresult FIS site
World Cup
(unofficial, from Finland)
World Cup (official FIS site)
You can also find links to results from the XCskiworld and CCC sites

March 20 - End of World Cup for 1999/2000

Bormio World Cup Finals
Men's 10km Classic March 17, and 15km Freestyle Pursuit March 19
Well no dramatic finish with respect to the men's overall World Cup, with Spanish German Johann Muhlegg having sown it all up already and Jari Isometsae sitting fairly pretty in second. Lets step back a couple of days to the classic leg on Friday.
Ivan Batory of Slovakia and Muhlegg were the quickest at the first split in the 10km classic, however it was fairly close all-round. At the 6.6 km mark Batory and Muhlegg were still up there, but Erling Jevne of Norway had taken front spot. Jevne strated to extend his lead and it then became a battle for the other two podium spots as Norwegians Hjelmeset and Estil, Isometsae, Batory and suprise Finn Janne Immonen all within a few seconds. However it was the Norwegians who snuck ahead of Isometsae to make it three fish-heads (no offence intentded) on the podium. Achim Walcher of Austria came from nowhere to take 5th place. Muhlegg faded badly to end up in 12th.

So action a plenty for the pursuit two days later. Goodbye Norway - Jevne and Hjelmeset declined to start, Estil withdrew, even Aukland and Solbakken in 25th and 27th failed to make it to the finish line. This left Isometsae as the rabbit out in front and plenty of skating favourites out for the hunt. Now here's where some live coverage would have come in handy. Muhlegg may have made it into contact with Isometsae from 17 seconds behind, but if he did then Isometsae out-sprinted him by a couple of seconds to the line. The big jumpers were Per Elofsson from Sweden and Vincent Vittoz from France, who came through from 18th and 17th to take 3rd and 4th respectively; Rene Sommerfeldt also came through to 5th from 14th. Who knows who hung with who for how long. Damn it. Sorry to disappoint.. Maybe there'll be cross country skiing on TV in Australia next year.

Men's 10km Classic
1    NOR    25:54.5    Erling Jevne
2    NOR    26:07.0    Odd-Bjor Hjelmeset
3    NOR    26:09.1    Frode Estil
4    FIN    26:10.1    Jari Isometsae
5    AUT    26:17.2    Achim Walcher

Men's 15km Freestyle Pursuit
1    FIN    38:16.7    Jari Isometsae
2    SPA    38:18.8    Johann Muhlegg
3    SWE    38:28.3    Per Elofsson
4    FRA    38:35.2    Vincent Vittoz
5    GER    38:41.1    Rene Sommerfeldt

Final World Cup Standings
1    948    Johann Muhlegg, SPA - (41 points from sprint races)
2    708    Jari Isometsae , FIN - (15)
3    568    Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset, NOR - (268)
4    536    Per Elofsson, SWE - (16)
5    461    Thomas Alsgaard, NOR - (0)
6    401    Fabio Maj, ITA - (137)
7    378    Stephan Kunz, LIE - (48)
8    371    Espen Bjervig, NOR - (137)
9    362    Michail Botvinov, AUT - (0)
10   359    Christian Zorzi, ITA - (160)
11   353    Morton Brors, NOR - (349)

92   15    Marcus Nash, USA - (15)
122   1    Justin Wadsworth, USA - (1)

Again the Norwegians are the country to score most out of the sprints. But the figures above don't tell the whole story. Including Brors as the most prominent, a whole troop of Norwegian sprint specialists came out of the woodwork this season - Solbakken (239 sprint points out of a total of 256), Bjerkeli (159 from 159), Svartedal (80 from 80), and Iverson (60 from 60) all made it on to podium. Not to mention Tor-Arne Hetland (193 from 268), who was already well known as a decent sprinter, and Tore Bjonviken (94 from 153), who did score some decent results in other races.

What's also interesting to note is that many skiers at the top in the overall standings missed or failed to score points in a lot of races. Isometsae missed 6, Hjelmeset 9, Elofsson 10 due to his back injury and Alsgaard more than half the season. And this is four of the top five ranked skiers. The fact that no other skiers knocked them down means that there at not many skiers skiing consistently all the way through, except for Muhlegg, and even he got bugger all points from the 6 sprint races. What does this mean? That it is too tough to last the whole season? That skiers are starting to specialise more and more? That I've spetn too much time with the statistics? At any rate, lets hope that someone next year can give Muhlegg a run for his money.

So that's it for the 1999/2000 World Cup. Next world skiing news update likely after the FIS Congress in Melbourne at the end of May.

March 19 - Martensen steals World Cup Title

Bormio World Cup Finals
Women's 5km Classic March 17, and 10km Pursuit March 18.
Exciting stuff at the World Cup Finals in Italy. The stage was set for a big finale after Bente Martensen of Norway won the 5km classic and took the overall World Cup lead away from Kristina Smigun of Estonia. Russian Olga Danilova took second place ahead of Kaisa Varis of Finland. Smigun finished 6th in the 5km, leaving her with 19 points and 19 seconds to make on Martinsen in the 10km freestyle pursuit. With Smigun likely to overtake classic specialist Martensen, crucial to the final outcome would be the placings of the other skiers, including Stephania Belmondo, Varis and assorted Russians Danilova, Gavriljuk and Tschepalova..

The notable absence from the race was Larissa Lazutina of Russia, who still had an outside chance for the World Cup title wawho failed to front in Bormio. One rumour travelling around was that Lazutina was making a protest about the number of sprints in the World Cup.

The big movers in the pursuit were Tschepalova and Belmondo, flying through the field from 7th and 5th respectively. Tschepalova won. It came down to a sprint, with Tschepalova taking it out by half a second.Martensen slowly worked her way down to 8th place, which meant that Smigun had to finish at least 3rd to take the World Cup title. With 1.7km to go Smigun was in 3rd position and fell. Varis, Danilova and Gavriljuk came past, leaving Smigun to cross the line in 6th place. This gave Martensen the World Cup title by just 11 points.

It wasn't the first time Martensen enlisted the help of Russians to clinch the World Cup. Last season Martensen won on a count-back ahead of Belmondo, after Belmondo was pushed into 2nd place in the final race by Tschepalova

Women's 5km Classic
1    NOR    14:09.1    Bente Martensen
2    RUS    14:13.3    Olga Danilova
3    FIN    14:20.4    Kaisa Varis
4    NOR    14:24.3    Anita Moen
5    ITA    14:24.4    Stephania Belmondo
6    EST    14:28,9    Kristina Smigun
7    RUS    14:36.2    Julia Tschepalova
8    RUS    14:44.6    Nina Gavrilijuk

16    CAN    14:55.3    Beckie Scott

Women's 10km Freestyle Pursuit
1    RUS    Tschepalova
2    ITA    Belmondo
3    FIN    Varis
4    RUS    Danilova
5    RUS    Gavriljuk
6    EST    Smigun

Apologies - the rest of the March 19 update was lost uploading the March 20 update. Hopefully it will turn up sometime.

March 13 - That Man, Harri Kirvesniemi

Oslo World Cups, Mar 11
You jut can't keep him out of the game can you. Approaching 42, into his 4th decade of racing in the Holmenkollen 50km (first time in 1979), Harri Kirvesniemi of Finland has finally won the most prestigious of all the World Cup races.

"Maybe the biggest is to win at the Olympics or World Championships, but no victory in World Cup can compare to the Holmenkollen 50km," said Kirvesniemi (Translated from VG Nett). "I have had it as a goal for many, many years. Several times I have been in form before this race, but it has never gone my way. Therefore I am very, very happy now." Kirvesniemi was third at Holmenkollen in 1985 and second in 1991.

At one stage Kirvesniemi led by over a minute, but in the end he held off young Russian Mikhail Ivanov by only 17 seconds. Mikhail Botvinov of Austria took third place. The first Norwegian was Anders Eide in 8th place, very unusual for a race that normally has at least one or two Norwegians on the podium.

The Holmenkollen 30km went to a Russian double, with Olga Danilova upsetting Larissa Lazutina into second place. Lazutina just squeezed in by half a second from Kaisa Varis of Finland.

In-form Bente Martensen of Norway was disappointed with her 4th place; Kristina Smigun's 5th place was enough to keep her 41 points ahead of Martensen in the overall World Cup with two races left in series finals at Bormio. While Martensen will have a good chance to gain on Smigun in the 5km classic in Bormio, the 10km skating pursuit will be tipped in Smigun's favour. The only other threat to the overall title for 1999/2000 could come from Lazutina, who despite being 77 points behind has been more consistent in both classic and skating techniques.

The men's overall World Cup has already been claimed by Johann Muhlegg. Isometsae, who skipped the 50km in favour of training for the finals in Bormio, has a firm hold on 2nd place with a 52 point lead from Hjelmeset and 95 from Elofsson.

Men's 50km Classic
1    FIN    2:02:50.5   Harri Kirvesniemi
2    RUS    2:03:08.2    Mikhail Ivanov
3    AUT    2:03:56.3   Mikhail Botvinov
4    ITA    2:04:54.5    Fabio Maj
5    SPA    2:05:03.5    Johann Muhlegg

Women's 30km Classic
1    RUS    1:23:16.8   Olga Danilova
2    RUS    1:23:38.0    Larissa Lazutina
3    FIN    1:23:38.5   Kaisa Varis
4    NOR    1:24:11.9    Bente Martensen
5    EST    1:25:04.8    Kristina Smigun

FIS Marathon Cup Final

The last race in the FIS Marathon, the Engadin Ski Marathon, was held last Sunday in Switzerland. While honours for the day went to Gerhard Urain from Austria, the overall Marathon Cup went to Vasaloppet winner Raul Olle from Estonia.

Olle finished 12th in the final race, high enough to keep him 40 points clear of Sweden's Staffan Larsson. Larsson took 7th place in the Engadin, in a sprint finish that encompassed the first 23 skiers. Urain managed to get 3 seconds clear, but then 15 and a half seconds covered the next 22 across the line. Second place went to Italian Norman Kostner ahead of Frenchman Vincent Vittoz.

Svetlana Nageijkina was the fourth woman home in the Engadin, however she didn't even need to finish to secure the women's Marathon Cup title. Fellow Russian Julia Tschapalova won the 42km race, well clear of second placed Brigette Albrecht of Switzerland and Maria Theurl of Austria. The Russians must have high tailed it to get down to the race as Nageijkina finished 9th the day before in Holmenkollen.

March 9 - Too Many Norwegians

Oslo Sprint World Cup, Mar 8
Once again Norwegians dominate a sprint race held in classic style. In fact, there were the same two victors as in Stockholm a week or so ago. The results for the men's and women's sprints are quickest on these sites, however here as some race details as loosely butchered from VG Nett.

About 25000 spectators were estimated to be watching the sprint on Karl Johanns Gate in downtown Oslo. Norwegians are madly patriotic at the worst of times, you can imagine it was kaos with the following results.

Bente Martensen lead out from the start and held the lead throughout the final to take her third sprint win of the season, ahead of Finnish junior sensation Pirjo Manninen. Norwegian veteran Anita Moen, set to retire at the end of the season, was third.

"Sprints are very good, especially when there are such good conditions as we have had in Oslo, Stockholm and Lahti. But six sprint races (in World Cup) I feel are too many. On the other hand, I support that these races should count in the overall World Cup," said Martensen after the race. No real surprise here as Martensen has about half of her World Cup points from sprint races.

With this result Martensen closes in on Estonian Kristina Smigun (who finished 4th in the four person final) in the overall World Cup, but apparently she was considering some dirty tactics in the semifinal. Lying in the track ahead of Smigun in the semi final with both about to qualify for the final, Martensen considered slowing down so that someone else could come past and Smigun would be shut out (thereby Martensen gaining more points on Smigun).

"I thought about it, but was afraid that more skiers could go past, and it was better to beat Smigun in the final than for both of us to miss out in the semi final," explained Martensen, seemingly having no moral objection to the tactic. And she seemed like such a nice girl.

In the men's final, the all-Norwegian final, Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset added another classic sprint win to his collection, ahead of national group starters Jens Arne Svartedal and Trond Iversen. Hjelmeset got clear only in the last few metres, where he reportedly jumped and sprang like wild man over the finish line.

In contrast to Martesen, Hjelmeset is not certain that sprint races should count in World Cup, thinking instead that they should be a "show". He went on to add;

"But the day these races don't count any longer in World Cup, then also the best skiers wont take part in them. Today there are six races in the overall World Cup, it is too much. Three is enough."

It was tougher for those who started first in the qualifying, as there was more snow in the track early on. This is backed up by the CCC report on Beckie Scott's race. As a result many of the Norwegians with late start numbers had a good chance to qualify for the finals. And they did. Ten Nowegians made it through to the final 16.

Coming up next, the Holmenkollen 30km and 50km. Not sure if they are classic or skating; probably classic and if so expect another Norwegian domination of the 50km.

March 6 - Lahti Pre-Worlds and Vasaloppet

Lahti World Cups, Mar 3-5
In apparent preparation for next year's World Championship, six world cup events were crammed into three days in Lahti. A sprint, a relay, and a mass start race each for men and women.

Men's Freestyle Sprint
Christian Zorzi is definitely the new man in town on the Italian team, claiming a couple of fourth places in recent World Cups and anchoring home the Italian relay team for victory in Falun last week. Still, a World Cup victory is another big step up. A few of the big guns - Muhlegg, Isometsae - didn't qualify through to the final 16, however as you had to be within 5 and half seconds over 1.5km to make the cut this was no disgrace. And if you think that was tough, consider that about 2 seconds covered the next 16.

1 Christian Zorzi, ITA
2 Morton Brors, NOR
3 Sylvio Fauner, ITA
4 Rene Sommerfeldt, GER

Fastest Qualifier, Harvard Bjerkeli, NOR, 3:05.23

Women's Freestyle Sprint
If there were guns missing from the men's sprint final, there certainly weren't in the women's. Smigun, Martensen, Varis and Tschepalova fought it out, with the places ending up in that order. Pity we don't get any TV coverage of these events in Australia. Again, just over 5 seconds back was the qualifying cut-off.

1 Kristina Smigun, EST
2 Bente Martensen, NOR
3 Kaisa Varis, FIN
4 Julia Tschepalova, RUS

Fastest Qualifier, Olga Savialova, RUS, 3:34.43

Men's 30km Classic Mass Start
It seems a bit of controversy accompanied this event, if Norwegian newspapers are anything to go by. There was a lot of talk about the course being not suiting a mass start race, and apparently quite a lot of skiers were objecting against this style of race on principle. However Mikhail Ivanov said "It's totally OK for me," after the 22 year old Russian won the World Cup and test race for next year's World Championships. Ivanov broke away somewhere in the last 10km, leaving Fabio Maj to out-sprint Vladimir Villisov for second place in a pack of 13. The word was out the Ivanov had a pair of rockets under his feet, in everyone's favourite waxing conditions, around zero after new snow in the morning. Anyhow, there were a lot of critics - 4th placed Elofsson apparently fell four times during the race - prompting FIS cross Country Chairman Odd Martensen to reiterate that this has been a test season for the mass start events, and that everything will be reviewed at the FIS Congress in Melbourne at the end of May. Actually this usually means that the Norwegians and maybe the Swedes will decide things before-hand and let everyone else know what they decided when it is almost too late to have any input. However, the public appeal of a mass start will probably see it through, especially as it has already been announced as part of the Lahti 2001 program.

1    RUS    1:13:29.3    Mikhail Ivanov
2    ITA    1:13:49.1    Fabio Maj
3    RUS    1:13:49.4   Vladimir Villisov
4    SWE    1:13:51.6    Per Elofsson
5    NOR    1:13:52.2    Erling Jevne

Women's 4 by 5km Relay
No real surprises here. Russia won ahead of Russia two. Not that it would have made a lot of difference to the Russian dominance, however a lot of the top skiers, including Martensen, Moen, Belmondo, Smigun, Lazutina and Varis, opted to skip the relay, presumably in the interest of the 15km mass start race to come.

1 RUS 54:14.8
2 RUS2 55:48.9
3 ITA 56:00.3
4 FIN 56:02.3
5 NOR 56:24.3

Women's 15km Classic Mass Start
There weren't as many critics of the women's mass start, maybe because the field spread out a bit more than in the men's 30km. Larissa Lazutina broke away very early, extended her lead out to 40 seconds at one stage, and hung on basically unchallenged to win by about 20 seconds. Bente Martensen took second place without a sprint, with Anita Moen having to fight a bit harder for third. Lazutina and Martensen were generally in favour of the mass start, although Lazutina suggested it be kept only for longer races and Martensen called for some changes to the Lahti track before the World Championship next year. World Cup leader Kristina Smigun managed only 8th, and though she is 75 points clear in the overall World Cup, Lazutina and Martensen are still within striking distance and in form.

1    RUS    41:16.1    Larissa Lazutina
2    NOR    41:38.0    Bente Martensen
3    NOR    41:48.6    Anita Moen
4    RUS    41:49.1    Olga Savialova
5    RUS    41:50.5    Nina Gavriljuk

Men's 4 by 10km Relay
Though now without experienced campaigners Stadlober and Gandler, Austria have shown they will still be contenders in the relay in 2001 with a victory in the pre-worlds relay. Hoffmann anchored the team home from 3rd place, overtaking Finland and Russia on the final leg. But with a year to go there is no outstanding favourite in the relay. Norway, who took 4th place, clearly lack skating talent with the absence of Daehlie and Alsgaard. Italy, Russia, and even Germany have a lot of younger talent coming through, the key is getting them all to fire on the same day. Strangely enough, the team who might just have the edge could be the oldest team of the lot, Finland with Kirvesniemi, Myllylae and Isometsae - these last two absent from this relay.

1 AUT 1:41:37.4
2 FIN 1:41:44.6
3 RUS 1:42:01.9
4 NOR 1:43:01.2
5 ITA 1:34:02.3

Full results from all these events at the World Ski Report site.

Vasaloppet 2000

A unexpected winner in this year's Vasaloppet, though with hindsight it perhaps shouldn't have been so surprising. 32 year old Raul Olle of Estonia won the world's largest cross country race comprehensively, breaking away early and winning in the end by over four minutes. Second place went to Swede Oskat Svard, in a sprint from Staffan Larsson and Friedl Metzler of Austria.

Olle was surprised himself when he broke away from the pack after about 30km.

"It was strange," said Olle. "I didn't feel like I tried to break away. My skis were good, and when I turned around I saw that no-one had gone with me. Okay then, there was no point in slowing the pace. But, certainly I was a little worried that I had gone too fast from the start."

Staffan Larsson tried to get the pack to go after Olle, but no-one wanted to work with him. Oskar Svard admitted "We others didn't want to help, when Staffan Larsson tried to take up the hunt. I was happy to fight it out for second place. I was afraid of blowing up".

Some commentators thought that the elite field was down a bit on previous Vasaloppets. However Olle's Vasaloppet history showed that he was definitely a contender amongst any Vasaloppet field. He had skied it four times previously, finishing 163rd, 62nd, 13th and 6th. And also, he was in the best form of his life, having finished second in the Konig Ludwig Lauf at the start of February and winning the Finlandia the week before. This win also takes Olle to the lead in the FIS Marathon Cup.

The first women home was Svetlana Nageijkina, which explains her absence from the mass start World Cup in Lahti. Nageijkina won comfortably ahead of Swede Sofia Lind and Austrian Maria Theurl, continuing her dominance of the FIS Marathon Cup. Nageijkina won three and placed fourth in the other of the four races held so far.

FIS Marathon Cup Standings(one race left in the series)
1    186    Raul Olle    EST
2    132    Stanislav Rezac    CZE
3    130    Oskar Svard     SWE
4    125    Stefan Larsson    SWE
5    100    Fulvio Valbusa, ITA, Johann Muhlegg, SPA

1    350 pts    Svetlana Nageijkina    RUS
2    180 pts    Maria Theurl    AUT
3    140 pts    Monica Johannson    SWE
4    130 pts    Sofia Lind    SWE
5    104 pts    Nadezhda Slesareva    RUS


February 29 - Well if you can't beat them...

To read all about the Falun World Cup results, go no further than XCSkiworld ,which seems to have most of the bases covered. However for fast dowload of the full results, here's a new site to check out, World Ski Report. Interesting to read also on XCSkiworld about Thomas Alsgaard pulling the pin on this season. What now can stop the Muhlegg juggernaut?

The only thing missing is further results from the classic sprint World Cup held around the "Kungliga Slottet" in Stockholm.Here are some bits loosely translated  from the Swedish newspaper DN with some additions.

Stockholm Sprint World Cup, February 29
Norwegians dominated this event, which attracted about 30,000 spectators around the 1km track in the centre of Stockholm. Five men at the top in the men's sprint, with Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset defeating Tore Bjornviken in the final, and Bente Martensen taking her sixth World Cup sprint victory in the women's final.

The best of the rest of the world  in the men's sprint was Matthias Fredrikson in 6th place, who was knocked out in the quarter finals by 4th placed Tor Arne Hetland. Hetland also knocked out Per Elofsson, the number 1 Swede this season, in the round of 16. Elofsson said that he had a little too much klister on his skis, but that he didn't think he was explosive enough to win the sprint race anyway. He also added there was a sky lot of people (Dodgy direct translation).

Very interesting in the women's final was that second place went to Finnish junior sensation Pirjo Manninen. Manninen blew the field away in the sprint race at theWorld Junior Championships in Slovakia in January this year. Third place went to Kati Sundqvist also of Finland, not sure who was 4th but 5th was another junior, 18 year old Lina Andersson of Sweden.Anderson was 9th in the sprint at the WJC's, and also skied away from the field in the first leg of the WJC 4 by 5 km relay, the Swedish girls going on to win the gold medal. Beckie Scott of Canada finished 7th, knocked out Martensen as reported by XCSkiworld.

The World Cup now moves to Lahti Finland for another relay, another sprint, and a mass start classic race.

February 21 - World Cup and FIS Marathon Cup movers

World Cup Standings
With the continued absence of Alsgaard and Bjervig, and of any Finns in this race, Muhlegg has now gone over 200 points clear at the top of the leaderboard. With that kind of a lead and his current form, it is difficult to see anyone catching him in the remaining 8 (?) races. Elofsson is the big mover however, now hot on the heels of Bjervig and Kunz, despite missing all of December and January with his back injury.
1    672 pts    Johann Muhlegg, SPA
2    461 pts    Thomas Alsgaard, NOR
3    445 pts    Jari Isometsae, FIN
4    347 pts    Espen Bjervig, NOR
5    345 pts    Stephan Kunz, LIE
6    335 pts    Per Elofsson, SWE

Kristina Smigun also extends her lead, now out to 115 points from Larissa Lazutina. Bente Martensen's position in 3rd is becoming shakier, with Nina Gavriljuk and Belmondo in particular closing fast.
1    802 pts    Kristina Smigun, EST
2    687 pts    Larissa Lazutina, RUS
3    616 pts    Bente Martensen, NOR
4    597 pts    Nina Gavriljuk, RUS
5    575 pts    Stephania Belmondo, ITA
6    544 pts    Olga Danilova, RUS

FIS Marathon Cup Standings (unofficial)
With two of the races cancelled due to snow conditions (Dolomitenlauf and Tartu Ski Marathon), none of the men have managed to score more than 100 points. The three winners, Fulvio Valbusa (Marcialonga), Stanislav Rezac (Konig Ludwig Lauf) and Johann Muhlegg (Transjurassienne) hence share the lead. At least the next two ranked skiers, Giacomel and Olle, scored points in more than one race. At any rate, the race for the men's Marathon Cp title is wide open.
1    100    Fulvio Valbusa     ITA
1    100    Stanislav Rezac    CZE
1    100    Johann Muhlegg    SPA
4    92    Fabio Giacomel    ITA
5    87    Raul Olle    EST

However the women's Marathon Cup battle is just about over. Svetlana Nageijkina of Russia already has 250 points after only three races, scoring with victories in the Marcialonga and Konig Ludwig Lauf, and 5th place in the Transjurassienne. Maria Theurl, who apparently pulled out during the Konig Ludwig Lauf, holds second place 130 points behind.
1    250 pts    Svetlana Nageijkina    RUS
2    120 pts    Maria Theurl    AUT
3    100 pts    Stephania Belmondo    ITA
4    95 pts    Monica Johannson    SWE
5    86 pts    Sabina Valbusa    ITA

For a brief on the Transjurassienne, go to the Team Report section.

February 16 - Swiss World Cup

Thank you David Goldstrom and Eurosport for bringing World Cup coverage to the Post Hotel in Morez today.

Goms World Cup - February 16
Women's 5km Freestyle
Not many cameras on the 5km course, but the 5km is over pretty quickly anyway. Only 46 starters which is very small  field for a middle Europe World Cup race. According to Mr Goldstrom the track was soft, and it snowed throughout the race. Only a couple of skiers were given splits at the 2.7km mark, and if they were accurate then Swiss junior Karin Camenisch has a future in sprint racing as she was 8 seconds clear of the entire field. But as she ended up over 2 and a half minutes off the pace at the finish, either she died really badly or the split was wrong.

For a while it looked as though it was going to be a very tight race for first, with Tschepalova taking the lead at the finish, Kaisa Varis squeezing her out by point 3 of a second, and then Danilova finishing only a second behind Varis. But then the World Cup leader Kristina Smigun shattered that idea, storming across the line to take 26.7 seconds off the fastest time. Valbusa edged in ahead of Varis and then all eyes were waiting on Belmondo. She still had 15 seconds in hand coming into the straight, but it wasn't enough and Belmondo had to settle for 2nd, 5.2 seconds behind Smigun. Of the other contenders for the overall World Cup;  Lazutina finished 8th and Martensen 11th. Beckie Scott put another top 20 result on the board, finishing 16th just under a minute off the pace.

1    EST    12:53.9    Kristina Smigun
2    ITA    12:59.1    Stephania Belmondo
3    ITA    13:18.9    Sabina Valbusa
4    FIN    13:20.6    Kaisa Varis
5    RUS    13:20.9    Julia Tschepalova

8    RUS    13:26.2    Larissa Lazutina
11    NOR    13:41.6    Bente Martensen
16    CAN    13:51.7    Beckie Scott

Men 10km Freestyle
More dumping snow, strong winds as well. World Cup leader Johann Muhlegg started fast, perhaps too fast, to take the lead and be 11 seconds clear of Isometsae at 2.7km. By the 5km mark Muhlegg's lead was back to 1 second, and at the 7.7km mark he had dropped to third, 2 seconds behind Elofsson and 11 seconds behind Isometsae. But the surprise packets on the track turned out to be Christian Zorzi of Italy and Rene Sommerfeldt of Germany. As the race progressed, they turned from early front-runners to very real contenders. Zorzi, number 50, crossed the line to take first place, only to have Sommerfeldt drop him down a spot a minute or so later. Then the big guns, Prokurorov unsighted, Botvinov off the pace, it took Isometsae to come and stamp his command on the race with a 20 second lead over Sommerfeldt. Muhlegg continued to fade and couldn't quite beat Zorzi's time. Then big Per Elofsson (well actually he's not that big, only 183cm and about 75kg) was picked up by the camera early with plenty of time on his hands. Not quite enough to deny Isometsae his third World Cup victory (and second in two weeks), but enough to take second position comfortably. And... well not much more. Lichensteiner sensation Stephan Kunz coming in to take ninth and keep him in the top 5 in the World Cup, Rene Sommerfeldt ends up with his first trip to World Cup podium.

1    FIN    23:47.7    Jari Isometsae
2    SWE    23:55.7    Per Elofsson
3    GER    24:07.9    Rene Sommerfeldt
4    ITA    24:10.3    Christian Zorzi
5    SPA    24:13.0    Johann Muhlegg

Muhlegg now extends his World Cup lead, helped by the continued absence of Alsgaard, who apparently is/has been ill and decided to rest up and try to get healthy for the Scandinavian races beginning February 26. Mika Myllylae has also been conspicious in his absence after his victory in Trondheim, and is expected to surface again in Scandinavia.

Overall World Cup Standings (After 12 races of 21)

1    722 pts    Kristina Smigun, EST
2    627 pts    Larissa Lazutina, RUS
3    616 pts    Bente Martensen, NOR
4    565 pts    Nina Gavriljuk, RUS
5    528 pts    Olga Danilova, RUS
6    475 pts    Stephania Belmondo, ITA

1    572 pts    Johann Muhlegg, SPA
2    461 pts    Thomas Alsgaard, NOR
3    445 pts    Jari Isometsae, FIN
4    347 pts    Espen Bjervig, NOR
5    319 pts    Stephan Kunz, LIE
7    255 pts    Per Elofsson, SWE

Next World Cup the Transjurassienne this Sunday February 20, should be very interesting indeed.

February 11 - Unseen Results

No TV, no internet, these comments are on World Cup results only read by email. Take it or leave it.

Trondheim World Cup - February 2
What can you say about races you didn't see? Make something up! Mika Myllylae shows us again that he races best in February, Per Elofsson straight back to almost the top after recovering from his pre Christmas back injury. With this 5th place, Muhlegg moves to within 35 points of Alsgaard in the overall World Cup standings, Alsgaard could manage only 13th in this race.Belmondo cleaned up in the women's 5km, however with Bente Martensen from Norway finishing in 17th place, Kristina Smigun from Estonia takes over the overall World Cup lead. Another good result for Beckie Scott also.

Men 10km Freestyle
1    24:53.3    FIN    Mika Myllylae
2    24:55.1    SWE    Per Elofsson
3    25:03.2    ITA    Pietro Piller Cotter
4    25:05.1    ITA    Fabio Maj
5    25:07.9    SPA    Johann Muhlegg

13    25:24.0    NOR    Thomas Alsgaard

Women 5km Freestyle
1    13:01.5    ITA    Stephania Belmondo
2    13:14.3    RUS    Nina Gavriljuk
3    13:14.8    RUS    Julia Tschepalova
4    13:17.1    EST    Kristina Smigun
5    13:19.4    RUS    Larissa Lazutina

17    13:44.8    NOR    Bente Martensen
20    13:48.7    CAN    Beckie Scott

Lillehammer World Cup - February 5
Russian raffle up the front in the women's races, Kaisa Varis from Finland keeping up her consistent form, Beckie Scott consolidating her place in the red group, she is such a nice girl isn't she. The word on Varis is that she trained a bit much the last few years and just learned how to recover. Belmondo doing the usual steam-train stuff in the skating pursuit, just lucky for the Russians it was only 5km. Pretty sure the first leg of the one-day pursuit race doesn't count for anything, bad luck Olga and Harri.Smigun's 5th place extends her overall World CUp Lead, and Lazutina's victory edges her past Martensen into 2nd overall.  Harri Kirvesniemi, what do you think you're doing coming in first in the classic anyway, don't you know when to hang up your skis? Though Muhlegg and Botvinov were the big movers in the men's pursuit, Jari Isometsae picked up his second World Cup victory. With Alsgaard's absence from this race, Johann Muhlegg now takes over the overall World Cup lead. Unglaublich. Vive Espania!

Women One-Day Pursuit
5km Classic
1    14:03.0    RUS    Olga Danilova
2    14:05.7    RUS    Larissa Lazutina
3    14:15.2    RUS    Swetlana Nagejkina
4    14:21.3    EST    Kristina Smigun
5    14:25.3    FIN    Kaisa Varis

7    14:27.1    NOR    Bente Martensen
13    14:37.2    CAN    Beckie Scott
25    14:55.9    SUI    Andrea Huber
56    15:51.7    CAN    Sara Renner
58    15:56.5    USA    Nina Kemppel

5km Skate Pursuit  (times based off 0.00 start time)
1    13:00.7    RUS    Larissa Lazutina
2    13:05.2    RUS    Olga Danilova
3    13:06.9    RUS    Swetlana Nagejkina
4    13:07.3    ITA    Stefania Belmondo (from 9th)
5    13:08.2    EST    Kristina Smigun

7    13:26.7    NOR    Bente Martensen
8    13:27.3    FIN    Kaisa Varis
19    14:01.0    CAN    Beckie Scott
46    15:42.0    USA    Nina Kemppel

Men's One -Day Pursuit
10km Classic
1    25:34.9    FIN    Harri Kirvesniemi
2    25:39.6    FIN    Jari Isometsae
3    25:41.8    NOR    Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset
4    25:42.8    NOR    Erling Jevne
5    25:52.7    NOR    Tore Olsen

12    26:14.2    SPA    Johann Muhlegg
13    26:16.2    AUT    Michal Botvinov
18    26:32.5    SWE    Per Elofsson
47    27:26.8    USA    Marcus Nash
63    27:51.1    USA    Justin Wadsworth

10km Skating Pursuit (times based off 0.00 start time)
1    24:14.2    FIN    Jari Isometsae
2    24:29.3    SPA    Johann Muehlegg (from 12th)
3    24:29.8    AUT    Mikhail Botwinov (from 13th)
4    24:46.7    FIN    Janne Immonen (from 9th)
5    24:47.0    SWE    Per Elofsson (from 18th)

50     27:15.0    USA    Marcus Nash

There was a mixed relay as well, but with no idea who skied which leg or what happened at all, there's no point even commenting. Look up one of the other links above to find out what happened.

Marcialonga 70 km Cross Country Ski Race
Val di Fiemme.  Italy
Modified Press Release - Original in Italian.


Cavalese (Italy) - A thrilling final, with the exultant Fulvio Valbusa slowing down in the straight to enjoy his victory,  unaware that the sprint finish of Follis and Giacomel almost robbed him of his victory provided an
exciting climax to the 27th Marcialonga di Fiemme e Fassa, the first event of the FIS Marathon Cup.At 8.30 the first skiers (4.382 total competitors) started the 70 km Marcialonga with snow falling lightly.   Immediately the Italians Pozzi and Valbusa and other athletes of the G.S. Forestale took the lead, followed by Vanzetta and the Fiamme Gialle Team and the French team. The Russians and the Scandinavians were slow to start and were left behind.

With a leading bunch of twelve to fourteen athletes swapping positions throughout the race,  Fulvio Valbusa launched a decisive attack four km from the finish with the Italian Fiamme Gialle Team chasing desperately to
catch up. Valbusa arrived in the last straight stretch alone. He slowed down and, exultant, put on the laurel crown before the finishing line, oblivious to the sensational sprint finish of Follis and Giacomel happening behind him.
Fortunately, Valbusa crossed the finishing line just a single metre ahead of his rivals with a photofinish deciding the positions of Follis (2nd) and Giacomel (3rd), making  a popular home nation trifecta.

First place in the women's 70 km went to Russian Svetlana Nageikina (gold medalist at the 1998 Olympic Games in Calgary), followed by Maria Theurl (Austria) with Sabina Valbusa (Italy), sister of Fulvio, in third place.

1)Valbusa Fulvio (Italy) 3h 08.33.2;
2) Follis Leonardo (Italy) 3h 08.33.7;
3) Giacomel Fabio (Italy) 3h 08.33.9;
4) Kostner Norman (Italy) 3h 08.42.1;
5) Ganner Norbert (Austria) 3h 08.48.8

1)Nageikina Svetlana (Russia) 3h 14.49;
2) Theurl Maria (Austria) 3h 16.21;
3) Valbusa Sabina (Italy) 3h 17.39;
4) Villeneuve Sophie (France) 3h 19.36;
5) Confortola Antonella (Italy) 3h 25.35

January 13 - Armchair Action

Hello Europe, hello Eurosport. Don't hold your breath waiting to see cross country skiing World Cup action on TV in Australia or North America.

Krylatskoe World Cup - January 8
No live reports, the team was in Alternmarkt for the Tauernlauf the same weekend. The only snippet heard from the Atomic rep. was that an "unknown" Finnish girl won the 15km skate. This skier turned out to be Kaisa Varis, see Davos World Cup Dec 18 report below. As for where she has come from, Varis finished 34th in the overall World Cup in 98/99, with best place 14th in a 10km classic, and 80th in 97/98 with a single 27th place. No other details available. Well, there probably is in Finland though. The top 5 places:
  1. Kaisa Varis             FIN  43.50.4
  2. Kristina Smigun         EST  -   8.4
  3. Nina Gavriljuk          RUS  -  14.6
  4. Maria Theurl            AUT  -  17.8
  5. Stefania Belmondo       ITA  -  20.6
Incredible result for Varis, pretty good result for Austrian Maria Theurl. Inside tip - Maria Theurl to win the Transjurassiene 46km Freestyle World Cup in February.

30km Skate. Johann Muhlegg picked up his second World Cup victory in the best season of his life. Spanish life seems to be treating him well (though he still lives in Garmisch, GER). Alsgaard in second place, doing enough to restore his overall World Cup lead after his absence from the Christmas Sprints, Kunz still pulling incredible results out of somewhere.
  1. Johann Muhlegg          SPA
  2. Thomas Alsgaard         NOR   -   34.2
  3. Stefan Kunz             LIE   -   47.3
  4. Jari Isometsae           FIN   - 1.05.7
  5. Aleksei Prokurorov      RUS   - 1.19.5

Nove Mesto World Cup - January 12/13
Women 10km Classic. Very close results for 10km. Russian Larissa Lazutina lead from early on and claimed her second World Cup victory of the season, but only 2.3 seconds ahead of Estonian Kristina Smigun. World Cup leader Bente Martinsen took third place 6.7 seconds behind Lazutina. Danilova 4th, Nageikina 5th, Kaisa Varis yet another 6th place.

Men 15km Classic. Exciting race to watch. A couple of early starters posted good splits, relative unknown Janne Immonen from Finland and Hakan Nordback from IFK Mora in Sweden. After the red group came through it was Alsgaard with a tiny lead from a big bunch, looking like he was out for cruise. At the 7.5 km mark most of the guns came past and Immonen still held the lead. Alsgaard just squeezed into the lead by 0.8 of a second. Incredibly, the old war-horse Harri Kirvesniemi tilted his head to be counted.(Kirvesniemi won his first World Cup in 1982, and his last World Cup in 1995 also at Nove Mesto). New Spaniard Johann Muhlegg also within contact. Now the camera starts following Immonen, he has Swede Magnus Ingessen stuck on the  back of his skis. Back to Alsgaard, at 10km he has extended his lead to 10sec from Immonen. Now to the finish and Nordback has the fastest time. Ingessen kicks off Immonen, but Immonen takes the lead from Nordback by 11 seconds.Isometsae comes in and throws himself across the line, edging Nordback down another place. Kirvesniemi into the straight, it's close close, he takes Immonen by 1.5sec. Muhlegg next, he is flying, takes Kirvesniemi by 3 sec. Finally Alsgaard  cruises in, beats everyone by 16 seconds and extends his overall World Cup lead.

Women 4 by 5km Relay (2 classic, 2 skate).
As usual, a battle between Russia and Norway. Olga Danilova broke away from Anita Moen at about 3km, giving Nageikina and Russia a handy lead at the first change. However Martensen had other ideas, and took it all back on the second classic leg. Nilsen lead out in front of Jegorova on the first skate leg, then Jegorova took the lead and just started to get a break at 3.3km. But she didn't get far, and handed over to Lazutina only a 4.3 seconds lead. And then, Norwegian Maj Helen Sorkmo had no chance. Lazutina showed why she has 7 World Championship and Olympic relay gold medals (also 12 individual medals) to her name.Now the pressure was back on Sorkmo, as Tschepalova began the hunt from the Russia number two team. After 1.6km Tschepalova cut the gap from 43 sec to26 sec, and then at 18.3 km suddenly she was right there on Sorkmo's back Thanks for coming. First Russia , second Russia , third Norway. Italy with Belmondo on the last leg came up for fourth place.

Men 4 by 10km Relay (2 classic, 2 skate).
A few more possibilities than in the Womens relay. After 5km there were 8 teams in the pack, with Austrian Alexander Marent leading Sweden, Italy, two Norwegian teams, Russian Estonia and Slovakia. At 6.6 km Sweden attacked and dropped a couple, and then Norway attacked and dropped Sweden. At the change, it was Denisov from Russia ahead of Norwegians Hjelmeset and Estil, Sweden 6 seconds back in 4th and Austria 8.3 back in 5th. Nordback from Sweden made a quick jump up to the back, but Botvinov started slowly and didn't make it across. Ivanov from Russia kicked at 3.3km and dropped Sweden. Ivanov kicked again at 6.6km and dropped Aukland from Norway 2. Then Botvinov got wound up and started picking up the stragglers, first Nordback, then Aukland, then the finish line came to soon and Ivanov and Jevne changed 5 seconds ahead. At the start of the third leg Walcher pulled Austria across to Villisov and Skjeldal, and they pretty much stayed together for the entire leg.But something happened at the third change, maybe Villisov dropped off or maybe Prokurorov had a problem with his pole, at any rate Norway and Austria got away and left Russia behind. The anchor-men on the last leg for Norway and Austria? Alsgaard and Hoffmann, rematch from the Ramsau 1999 World Championship relay. Hoffmann was the train driver, Alsgaard sitting behind just as in Ramsau. 5km, Hoffmann drives, Alsgaard sits. 8.3km Hoffmann drives, Alsgaard sits. Tension mounts for the sprint. Suddenly they come around a corner with 300m left and Alsgaard has already overtaken and has a 20m lead.It's all over, they both sprint but Alsgaard is well clear and eases up over the line to take revenge for 1999. Prokurorov gives Russia third place, Italy outsprints Norway 2 for 4th place, Sweden 6th.

December 31 - Immer Wieder Schlickenrieder

This is only a very brief update as the team in Canada is getting ready to depart.

There was action a-plenty at the World Cup sprints in middle Europe. Probably the best (least mucking around) link to the results is from the Sportresult website.

The first sprint in Engelburg was classic style, 16 skiers progressing from the qualifying time trial to the 4 skiers per heat knockout format. The winners - Russian Gavriljuk and Italian Fabio Mai. For interests sake, count the number of Russians and Norwegians who qualified for the women's finals.

The second sprint in Garmisch created some controversy with a photo finish between sprint king Peter Schlickenrieder and realtive unknown Harvard Solbakken from Norway. Though the finish photo gave the result to Schlickenrieder (look on the Eurosport site), Norwegian newspapers reported that the Norwegian coach Inge Andersen protested against Schlickenrieder cutting off Tor Arne Hetland earlier in the race. Though the protest was rejected by the race jury, Andersen is apparently taking the protest to FIS on a matter of principle. In the women's sprint, Kristina Smigun took the honours ahead of Bente Martinsen. Canadian Beckie Scott made it through to the semi finals and ended up in 8th place, of note USA skiers Marcus Nash qualified 19th and missed out on the finals, however he was only 5 seconds behind the fastest qualifier (3,27.92).

The final of the post-Christmas sprints was held in Kitzbuhel, this time with one-on-one head to head sprints after the qualifying round. The Norwegian women dominated the finals, qualifying 5 to the top 8 and taking the top 4 places. Bente Martinsen won. The Norwegian men extracted some revenge against Schlickenrieder, with Morten Brors knocking out the German in the quarter finals and going on to win in the final against compatriot Solbakken.

The next World Cup races begin with Krylatskoe in Russia on January 8.

December 20 - Viva Espania!?!
Apologies as some of this news is a week and a half old.

Sappada World Cup, December 10
Incredible results in the men's 15km freestyle. Johann Muhlegg won his first ever World Cup for Spain. After some long time differences with the German team, Muhlegg "enrolled" to ski for Spain last season, missing the 1999 World Championships, but cleaning up on the Worlloppet circuit.. The 29 year old's previous best place in a World Cup was 4th. Almost as surprising, Liechtensteiner Stephan Kunz took second place, Kunz' best result last year was 13th place.

22 year old Estonian Kristina Smigun picked up her second World Cup victory in the women's 10 km freestyle, ahead of Russians Lazutina and Tschepalova. Canadian Beckie Scott paced 19th, her best place in a non-sprint World Cup since December 1997.

Sappada World Cup, December 11
Norwegian's dominated the first leg of the men's one-day pursuit, with only first year senior Axel Teichmann from Germany disrupting the top 5 with his 4th place in the 7.5 km classic. However, there were many skiers in with a chance in the pursuit, with only 20 seconds separating 25th place from 6th. Thomas Alsgaard left the the field behind to win comfortably in the 10km skating pursuit, however fellow Norwegian Espen Bjervig had to out-sprint about a dozen others to take 2nd place ahead of, that man again, Stephan Kunz. Six seconds from 2nd to 13th.

Sappada World Cup, December 12
Russia, Russia, Russia, Norway, Russia read the start list for the women's o ne-day pursuit after the 5km classic. The top three, Danilova, Lazutina, and Gavriljuk decided to get together and sprint it out for first in the 7.5km skate pursuit, with Lazutina taking line honours ahead of Gavriljuk. Belmondo from Italy came up from 7th to take 4th place, 9 seconds of the pace. Beckie Scott picked up some more valuable WC points, taking 14th place after finishing 13th after the classic.

Davos World Cup, December 18
"Ben, who are you tipping to win the Davos 30km classic?" "Hmm... I'll go for Espen Bjervig." "Bjervig! That was what I was going to say. Okay, I'll go for Frode Estil." And so it was that Frode Estil won his first World Cup, half a minute ahead of Espen Bjervig. Swede Nicklas Jonsson took third place 1.4 seconds further behind, having started 30 seconds ahead of Estil and riding him all the way to the finish. It was reported in Norwegian papers that Erling Jevne was in contention but had a big fall losing maybe 50 seconds, and ended up a minute behind 2nd in 12 place.

Same old same old, Danilova won the women's 15km classic ahead of fellow Russian Lazutina, Bente Martinsen third. The only new name at the top is Kaisa Varis from Finland, who placed 6th, and also 6th in the first leg of the same day pursuit in Sappada. Beckie Scott kept up hergood form with another 14th place, which now puts her into the World Cup top 20 and (pretty sure) into the red group for post new year World Cups. Nina Kemppel from the USA unfortunately just missed out on World Cup points.

Davos World Cup Relays, December 19
No surprise with Norway winning a 4by10km classic relay, however the mover and shaker of the day was Estonia, who held with Noway early on and held onto second place even into the last leg. Erling Jevne, fired up from his 30km misfortune, kicked Norway to a commanding lead on the 2nd leg and they were then never challenged. Sweden worked their way steadily up after the first leg and took second place, 8 seconds ahead of Finland. Estonia dropped to 5th place at the finish, behind the Norwegian number 2 team.

Again nothing surprising in the women's 4by5km classic relay, Russia winning ahead of Norway, Norway 2 outsprinting Russia 2 for third place.

Okay, that's it now on World Cup until the post-Christmas sprints in middle Europe. We're cheering for Peter Schickenrieder and Beckie Scott.

December 8 - Websurf #2
Modern technology, superior reckoning skills and sheer fluke luck have given the team 100 hrs free internet access in Canmore at the cost of a local call (which are free anyway), so to celebrate the occasion here are a few more bits from around the world:

Late news in Australia but new here, three time Australian Winter Olympian Anthony Evans won the Buller to Melbourne JLL multi-sport event the day the xc team left the country. Evans smashed multi-sport guru John Jacobi's race record, for more details go to Barry White's summary from the Challenge Events website.

Team Greenpeace won the Eco-Challenge in Patagonia, the word is that Team Fosters Australia containing Tom Landon Smith and Alina McMaster  finished 7th amid pretty terrific conditions. More details on the Eco-Challenge site.

Sprint King Peter Schlickenrieder added another sprint title to his collection, this timed teamed up with fellow German Tobias Angerer in theWorld Cup sprint relay in Asiago. For some comments from Schlicky after the race, go to the FIS website. Sweden led the event at thefirst three changeovers [Note that the event is a mass start two-person relay where each skier skis 5 laps of about 1.5km.], Italy led for the next three, before Norway and Germany finally spread out the field on the last two legs. In the end Germany won by 5 seconds, with Italy taking 3rd place 12.2 seconds behind. There must have been some carnage, looking at the individual sprint times, it's too bad no North American networks covered it. The US team of Wadsworth/Nash came away with a very creditable 8th place, look out to see if a report appears on the US Team site.

In the women's World Cup sprint relay, the pack held together for much longer. With one leg to go, there were 10 teams still in contact, and 10th place France moved up to 5th on the last leg. Russia 1, containing Gavriljuk and Lazutina, lead early on, and still held second on the last change but faded to 6th. Norway's Anita Moen pulled out the fastest time on her last leg{Note, only 3 legs each for the women's relay] to give Bente Martensen the lead, and Martensen held on to win from Italy's Belmondo by the skin of her teeth (0.5 seconds), Russia 2 taking 3rd and 9 teams finishing within 12.3 seconds, phew.. The Canadian team of Beckie Scott and Sarah Renner finished 11th in the field of twenty,, maybe there'll be some inside info soon in Beckie Scott's reports at the Trailsports webstite.

From the gossip pages of Norway, the word is out that Thomas Alsgaard is going to take up rally car racing next year and has bought a new car for 170,000 Norwegian Kr.. From the gossip pages of the Australian Ski Team, the word is out that if we start saving now, we might be able to go Go-Karting one night at the June training camp at Falls Creek.

Next report after the races in Silver Star on the weekend.

December 1 - Action from around the world (plus a few more bits Dec 3)

A few short snippets from and links to here and there.

Ecochallenge 1999 starts today in Patagonia, Argentina. The multi day mega endurance event can be followed on the official website, www.ecochallenge.com.  Keep an eye out for Team Fosters Australia, containing former Australian XC ski team members Tom Landon-Smith and Alina McMaster. Or is that McLandon-Master-Smith since the wedding?

Canadian skiers Robin McKeever and Beckie Scott  lead the NOR-AM Continental Cup series after the first three events in Vernon. Full results for each race and the series points can be found via the latest news section on the Canadian XC Website. Canada is sending three skiers - Beckie Scott, Sarah Renner and Donald Farley - to Europe to do the December World Cup races, their itinerary is also on the CCC site.

Norwegian double in World Cup season opener with Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeseth and Bente Martinsen cleaning up in Kiruna. Full results available via the unofficial World Cup results site.

Some bad news for Sweden's Per Elofsson and an exciting finish in the world cup relay courtesy of xcskiworld.

XC is the official website of the Skiing Australia Cross Country Committee. It is produced with the assistance of the Australian Sports Commission, and the Kangaroo Hoppet. The editor can be contacted via hoppet@netc.net.au.