German captures 30km skiathlon in Oberstdorf; Freeman 17th for U.S.

German captures 30km skiathlon in Oberstdorf; Freeman 17th for U.S.{mosimage}Kris Freeman moved up three places during the 15km skating portion Friday to finish 17th in a men’s 30km skiathlon on what will be the 2005 World Championships course.

World Cup leader Rene Sommerfeldt of Germany out-sprinted Swiss Reto Burgermeister by 2.8 seconds to win in 1:16.02.9.

Freeman was timed in 1:18.01.8 with Carl Swenson 51st in the 67-racer field. Freeman hung with the top 10 through the early stages of the mass start before dropping back to 20th at the end of the 15km classic technique race, and then producing the 10th-fastest 15km skate, moving up three places for his best result since before Christmas.

“It was a scramble. This is a really hard course,” Freeman said. “There was sloppy snow in the classic section and you just had to slog through it. Once we got into the skating race the snow was harder.”

For Freeman, who had a fifth and sixth in December — the best U.S. results since 1984 — the race was a pick-me-up after frustrations during the last month. “This is a good confidence booster and hopefully there are better things to come,” he said. “I was getting sick of being in the 20s. Today, I was only about 20 seconds out of the top 10.”

Head coach Trond Nystad said Freeman has battled illness for part of the last six weeks “and he skied a smart race, and stayed in it. It was definitely difficult waxing and this is a hard course — lots of uphills — but waxing guys had good skis for him and he did well.

“Carl just didn’t have it. He felt he went out conservatively but then it was just one of those days — no good explanation; he just didn’t have it. He had the classic race of his life in the Marcialonga [finishing 13th January 25 in the 70km classic race in Italy] and he’s getting caught up from that.”

The U.S. team had expected to have four racers competing but officials reversed an earlier decision and said only two could race.

The women race a 15km skiathlon (7.5+7.5) Saturday with two-skier team sprints Sunday.

Cross-Country World Cup
Oberstdorf, Germany
February 13, 2004
Men’s 30km Skiathlon (15km CL+15km FR)

1. Rene Sommerfeldt, Germany, (1/2) 1:16.02.9
2. Reto Burgermeister, Switzerland, (2/4) 1:16.05.7
3. Lukas Bauer, Czech Republic, (3/6) 1:16.10.4
4. Fulvio Valbusa, Italy, (5/2) 1:16.42.5
5. Anders Soedergren, Sweden, (8/1) 1:16.44.5
17. Kris Freeman, Andover, N.H., (20/10) 1:18.10.6

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