The 2015 American Birkebeiner in Hayward, Wis., was spared the most frigid climate gripping the Eastern U.S., as temperatures hovered close to 15 degrees Fahrenheit when Saturday’s 51-kilometer freestyle elite race started. And regardless of 3 to 4 inches of new snow, even the sun created an physical appearance during the race.
In was in these situations that American Holly Brooks, of Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Alaska, won her second Birkie, claiming victory in a time of 2:34:33.
Nonetheless, she very first had to ward off Aurelie Dabudyk of France, who stuck with Brooks right up until she began her ultimate push on the flats of Lake Hayward, a number of kilometers from the finish.
Brooks came into the race second overall in the FIS Marathon Cup, but reclaimed the lead right after Saturday’s win.
The 32 yr outdated told FasterSkier that the leading four ladies were with each other for most of the race. At “B*itch Hill” – a steep climb about forty k into the race – she stated she heard a second snow machine behind her.
“I looked in excess of my shoulder and there was the sea of males who had caught us,” she explained. “I knew it was a now-or-never ever moment.”
As the top males passed the 1st four girls, Brooks decided to make her move. She tagged onto the group of men and managed to break from the group.
Nonetheless, she was shocked to find Dabudyk was in a position to hang behind her.
“I did not want to depart it to the finish sprint and therefore pushed as difficult as I could on Lake Hayward. I did not dare to appear back just before the finish line to be sure not to drop any seconds,” she explained to the press. “I didn’t want to be ‘that skier’ who looked back and lost the sprint since you miss a crucial pole plant or something.”
As normal, she said Main Street in Hayward was amazingly loud and festive.
“It would have been entertaining to grab a flag and celebrate a bit but guaranteeing the win and reclaiming the red bib was a lot more essential!” she explained. “I am genuinely satisfied that I could win the Birkie once more right now!”
Dabudyk went on to finish second, 28.1 seconds behind Brooks. Tatiana Mannima of Estonia was practically two minutes back in third (+one:59.9), barely holding off German Anja Gruber, who positioned fourth (+2:02.one).
Mannima has won the final two FIS Marathon Cup races, whilst Gruber is coming off three podium finishes earlier this month in SuperTour races in Craftsbury, Vt.
Dabudyk explained to the press that she desired to remain with Brooks till the finish, even though down the stretch Brooks had also a lot electrical power for her.
“But I am truly happy with my second spot,” she added.
Mannima explained that she pushed difficult from the commence to see which skiers could hold onto her speed. She was capable to keep in the lead group until Brooks and Dabudyk ultimately took off with 10 k to go.
“At Lake Hayward, I was attempting to remain behind Gruber, as it was pretty windy on the lake. I hoped to pass her prior to the finish line, which I did,” she explained, incorporating that she is content to just be on the podium.
American Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury Green Racing Task) ended up fifth (+9:31), following winning the SuperTour twenty k traditional mass start in Craftsbury late last month.
Bonaldi wins second Birkie in fascinating fashion
The men’s race provided a much more dramatic finish, as Italian Segio Bonaldi outsprinted 3 Frenchmen to win by less than a second.
Bonaldi, Birkie winner in 2013, completed in 2:twelve:21.one. He passed France’s Christopher Perrillat-Collomb in the ultimate one hundred meters to win by just .5 seconds. Benoit Chauvet and Mathias Wibault were also in the lead group, and Chauvet completed in third (+1.7) whilst Wibault faded to fourth (+5.).
Chauvet told the press that he tried to break out of the lead group of twenty at the initial climb, but no one particular was prepared to break with him. However, the racers slowly began to spread apart at about the 35 k stage, and Chauvet was capable to work with Perrillat-Collomb.
“At this stage all were pondering about winning the race,” he said.
Chauvet explained that his tactics failed him, however, and that Bonaldi was smarter and stayed behind the other individuals right up until the last stretch. Chauvet stated he probably made his final sprint as well early, as he experimented with to be first coming off the new bridge that drops the skiers into downtown Hayward and the final straightaway to the finish.
“I did not come to feel so nicely right up until 15 k before the finish,” Bonaldi mentioned. “My skis have been also not extremely excellent so I experimented with to remain behind and to wait for the finish sprint. I kept energy for that.”
The 36 year outdated added that he actually wished to win this yr, especially after finishing third final 12 months, but was not positive he would have a clear shot at victory right up until one hundred meters before the finish line.
“I am very satisfied!” he mentioned.
“I am small bit disappointed to be third as I needed to win. I have to come back for the victory subsequent year,” Chauvet mentioned.
The leading American, Lex Treinen (APU), finished virtually 20 seconds after Wibault in fifth and was 24.five seconds from the win. Last 12 months, he placed 10th in the Birkie. American Brian Gregg (Team Gregg/Madshus) finished in eighth (+1:51.four).
FIS Marathon Cup leader Petr Novak of the Czech Republic came by means of in eleventh (+five:51.four).
“I had the worst skis of my daily life. I lost so a lot on the downhills. It was a psychological battle for me all the way by way of and correct until finally the end!” Novak stated in a statement to the press. Despite his rough day, he even now retains the lead in the overall FIS Marathon Cup standings.
American Matt Liebsch (XC United/Team Sturdy Heart), 2009 Birkie winner, finished 10th (+3:ten.8), although 2012 Birkie winner Tad Elliott (Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Elite) took sixteenth (+ten:29.five).
Naryshkina, Mork take traditional titles
In the fifty five k classic race, Natalia Naryshkina of Russia and the CXC Crew took the women’s win in 3:19:twenty.2, although Norway’s Ole Christian Mork won the men’s race in 2:54:22.1.
Naryshkina beat runner-up Josie Nelson of Medication Lake, Minn., by three:44.9, and Kelly Sillicorn of Winona, Minn., by three:50.9. Isabel Caldwell, younger sister of U.S. Ski Group member Sophie Caldwell, placed fourth (+six:14.8).
Mork, of Oslo, outlasted four-time U.S. Olympian Torin Koos by eight.eight seconds and Thomas Seidel, of Salt Lake City, in third by 14.7 seconds.
51 k skate results: Males | Women
fifty five k classic results: Women | Males
– Vince Rosetta contributed reporting