Univer­si­ade 2017

Re­port from Kaza­khstan

SkiTrax - - Out In Front - By Car­ring­ton Pomeroy

The 18th Winter Univer­si­ade took place in Al­maty, Kaza­khstan on Jan. 29-Feb. 8, and fea­tured more than 1,500 ath­letes com­pet­ing in all of the Olympic events.

In­di­vid­ual Clas­sic: In the men's 10km, Va­leriy Gon­tar took an 8.9-sec­ond win over Rus­sian team­mate Dmitriy Ros­tovt­sev, a former world U23 medal­ist. Alexan­dre Pouye of France was third at 21.8 sec­onds be­hind. Ma­son Vin­cent (Univer­sity of Wy­oming) had the best U.S. fin­ish in 44th at 2:54 back, while Jordan Cascagnette (Nipiss­ing) was the top Cana­dian in 49th.

The women raced a 5km, won by Lilia Vasilieva of Rus­sia with a 13.3-sec­ond ad­van­tage over her team­mate Anna Nechaevskaya, a podium fin­isher at last year's Rus­sian Na­tion­als. Anna Shevchenko of Kaza­khstan – who started the sea­son on the World Cup – was third. Elise Sulser (Univer­sity of Wy­oming) led the U.S. in 23rd place at 1:58.4 off the pace. For Canada, Chris­tel Pichard-joli­coeur (Univer­sité Laval) was one spot be­hind Sulser in 24th.

Pur­suit Skate: In the men's 10km Pur­suit, Ros­tovt­sev over­took Gon­tar to win by 14.7 sec­onds. Ar­me­nia's Sergey Mikayelyan – who would later place in the top 30 at the Se­nior World Cham­pi­onships – moved from fourth up to third to claim the bronze. Wil­liam Du­mas skied from 58th all the way up to 40th to lead the Cana­dian squad, while Vin­cent once again had the best U.S. fin­ish in 55th.

In the women's 5km Pur­suit, Nechaevskaya of Rus­sia over­took team­mate Vasilieva for the gold. Anna Shevchenko of Kaza­khstan kept her hold on third place. Sulser again led the U.S.A., slip­ping one spot to fin­ish 24th, while Pichard-joli­coeur fin­ished 31st for Canada.

Clas­sic Sprint: In the men's 1.6km Clas­sic sprint, lo­cal favourite Ivan Lyuft took home the gold medal just ahead of Vladimir Frolov and Egor Berezin of Rus­sia. Canada's Alexis Morin was the only North Amer­i­can to qual­ify for the heats and fin­ished the day in 18th over­all. The top Amer­i­can on the day was Vin­cent in 56th.

The women's 1.3km race was won by Maria Davy­denkova of Rus­sia, fol­lowed closely by her team­mate Vasilieva in sec­ond and Anna Stoyan of Kaza­khstan in third. An­drée-anne Théberge in 17th led a quar­tet of Cana­di­ans in the top 30, with Emma Cam­i­ci­oli in 25th, Pichard-joli­coeur in 27th and Shelby Dickey in 30th. The Amer­i­cans were led home by Yara Thomas in 47th.

Mixed Team Sprint FR: Day Four of racing saw a very rare for­mat. Teams of two from ev­ery coun­try com­peted in a mixed-gen­der Team skate sprint. Each com­peti­tor com­pleted three loops of the 1.3km course, hand­ing off to their team­mate af­ter each lap. The home favourites pre­vailed, with Shevchenko of Kaza­khstan tak­ing gold ahead of Ce­line Chopard Lal­lier and Louis Schwartz of France, fol­lowed by Davy­denkova and Frolov of Rus­sia. No North Amer­i­can teams made it out of the semi­fi­nals, with Théberge and Morin of Canada com­ing clos­est in 16th. Team Re­lay: The men's 4x7.5km race saw a very tight battle be­tween the Rus­sians and the Kaza­khs. Both teams took turns lead­ing, and it wasn't un­til the fi­nal stretch that Ros­tovt­sev of Rus­sia pulled away for good. The Czech Repub­lic out­sprinted Ja­pan for the fi­nal podium spot. The Cana­dian team of Cascagnette, Du­mas, Conor Thompson and Car­ring­ton Pomeroy fin­ished 10th, three min­utes ahead of the Amer­i­can team of Vin­cent, Leif Han­son, Cameron Moore and Will Tim­mons.

The women's 3x5km fea­tured a sim­i­lar battle be­tween Rus­sia and Kaza­khstan, but this time Nechaevskaya wasted no time pulling away from Irina Bykova of Kaza­khstan on the fi­nal leg to give the Rus­sians the gold. Con­tin­u­ing a strong week, the French team fin­ished in the bronze-medal po­si­tion, well ahead of fourth-place Be­larus. The Cana­dian women's squad of Pichard-joli­coeur, Dickey and Kyla Van­derzwet mounted a late charge and over­took the Amer­i­can team of Sulser, Thomas and Meghan Kent on the last lap to fin­ish sev­enth-place over­all, with the U.S.A. fin­ish­ing eighth.

Clas­sic Mass Start: In the women's 15km mass start, Vasilieva put a cap on dom­i­nat­ing Univer­si­ade, out­sprint­ing her team­mate Nechaevskaya and Shevchenko of Ukraine. The U.S.A.'S Sulser con­tin­ued to im­press with her Clas­sic pro­fi­ciency, fin­ish­ing as top North Amer­i­can in 16th. Canada's Pichard-joli­coeur con­tin­ued her string of top-30 re­sults in 24th, just ahead of Dickey (CAN) in 25th.

The fi­nal race, the men's 30km Clas­sic, fea­tured a sim­i­lar story to the rest of the week. Ros­tovt­sev and Gon­tar of Rus­sia and Sergey Maly­shev and Vi­taliy Pukhkalo of Kaza­khstan broke away for good early on, fin­ish­ing in that or­der al­most three min­utes ahead of the rest of the field. Du­mas once again led the Cana­di­ans home in 34th place, while the United State's lone fin­isher Sam Wiswell came in 47th.

Canada's Car­ring­ton Pomeroy (left) in the Men's 30 km Clas­sic mass-start race

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.