Grey, Babikov do well at Alberta World Cup race

By Contributor
February 8th, 2010

Canada’s Ivan Babikov fought his way into the top-10 in a 15-kilometre skate-ski World Cup race at the Canmore Nordic Centre on Friday afternoon. George Grey, of Rossland, B.C., also had a solid race as the only other Canadian cracking into the top-20. The 2006 Olympian, who won a Canadian team time trial last week, finished in 17th spot at 35:04.0.


Babikov, known as a “Bull Dog,” for his pain tolerance, powered his way up the grueling hills of the five-kilometre skate-ski loop to finish as the top Canadian in 10th spot with a time of 34 minutes 47.7 seconds.


“That was tough out there today, but I have to be happy with a top-10 finish,” said Babikov. “It was great to be racing at home and have the crowd cheering for us so it definitely gave a little extra energy today.”


Babikov, who is known as one of the most relentless skiers on the World Cup circuit, is in Canmore with the world’s best in a final World Cup tune-up race before the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.


“My legs felt a little bit heavy today, but I am exactly where I want to be one week away from the Olympics,” said Babikov. “We have been doing a lot of training so I am a little tired, but we will be ready for the Games and I’m looking forward to it.”


The Italian men are certainly in prime form heading to Vancouver-Whistler. Giorgio Di Centa grabbed the gold medal with a time of 34:08.0, while Pietro Piller Cottrer finished second at 34:13.1. Dario Cologna, of Switzerland, skied to the bronze medal spot on the podium after stopping the clock at 34:19.9

Meanwhile, Canada’s Sara Renner was the top Canadian in the women’s 10-kilometre race after finishing 25th with a time of 26:44.1.


“I could feel it in my legs early today and that was really tough,” said Renner, who is getting set for her fourth trip to the Olympics. “It was great to be racing back in Canada and the community has been so supportive of me so it was awesome to hear them cheering us up the hills today.”


Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla won the women’s race with a time of 25:00.6. Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk skated to the silver medal after clocking-in at 25:10.3, while Russia’s Irina Khazova rounded out the women’s podium in third at 25:17.1.


Other Canadian results included: Gordon Jewett, of Canmore, Alta., in 32nd (35:43.6); Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., in 37th (35:56.3); Graham Nishikawa, of Whitehorse, in 51st (36:49.0); Chris Butler, of Thunder Bay, Ont., in 52nd (36:50.4); Alex Harvey, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., in 62nd (37:04.8); Brian McKeever, of Canmore, Alta., in 63rd (37:09.8); Robin McKeever, of Canmore, Alta., in 64th (37:20.5); Calgary’s Brent McMurtry in 66th (37:27.7); Eric Carleton, of Calgary, in 70th (37:57.2); Kit Richmond, of Strathcona, Alta., in 71st (38:16.8); Philip Wood, of Canmore, Alta., in 72nd (38:27.7); Curtis Merry, of Banff, Alta., in 75th (39:11.8); and Jeff Ellis, of the Mono Nordic Ski Club, was 76th (39:18.2) in men’s racing.


Dasha Gaiazova, of Banff, Alta., was 41st at 27:10.7; Edmonton’s Madeleine Williams was 51st (28:11.2); Calgary’s Brooke Gosling was 54th (28:36.6); Rhonda Jewett, of Canmore, Alta., was 56th at 29:02.9; Brittany Webster, of Caledon, Ont., and was 57th (29:06.8).

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