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Cross Country: Newell fifth in Rynbinsk

American cross country skier Andy Newell notched a season-best, fifth-place finish today at a World Cup individual sprint in Rynbinsk, Russia.American cross country skier Andy Newell notched a season-best, fifth-place finish today at a World Cup individual sprint in Rynbinsk, Russia.

“It felt good to make the final. I was due to make it. I’ve run into some bad luck this season,” Newell said. “In the final I went for it and actually pulled into the lead at one point, but then the wheels cam came off a little. For a minute I thought I was going to get the win.”

Newell’s result marks his seventh career top-five finish.

“Andy skied as well as he possibly could today,” Head Cross Country Coach Peter Vordenberg said. “He skied the final really well and fifth was it for the day.”

Italian Renato Pasini took the men’s race, followed by Russians Alexey Petukhov and Anton Garfarov in second and third, respectively. The Russians’ success was applauded by the local fans, unfazed in zero-degree weather.

Fin Pirjo Muranen topped the women’s podium. Italians Arianna Follis and Magda Genuin finished second and third, respectively.

Kikkan Randall led the American women in 16th place. Randall won on the same course a year ago to become the first U.S. woman to win a modern day World Cup.

“Kikkan was definitely stronger than her result today showed,” Vordenberg said. “It was good to see her skiing so strong.”

Torin Koos qualified for the finals 18th but was eliminated early.

World Cup sprint leader Petra Majdic of Slovenia didn’t make the finals though she’ll maintain the women’s discipline lead.

Rybinsk, Russia – Jan. 31, 2009
Freestyle Sprint

Men’s 1.3K
1. Renato Pasini, Italy
2. Alexei Petukhov, Russia
3. Anton Gafarov, Russia
4. Franz Goering, Germany
5. Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT

17. Torin Koos, Leavenworth, WA

Women’s 1.3K
1. Pirjo Muranen, Finland
2. Arianna Follis, Italy
3. Magda Genuin, Italy
4. Aino Kaisa Saarinen, Finland
5. Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland

16. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage

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