Paralympian Chris Klebl, a sit-skier from Heber City, Utah, added a World Cup podium to his resume Saturday, finishing second in the 10-kilometer to open the disabled cross-country World Cup season in Finland.
VUOKATTI, Finland — Paralympian Chris Klebl, a sit-skier from Heber City, Utah, added a World Cup podium to his resume Saturday, finishing second in the 10-kilometer to open the disabled cross-country World Cup season in Finland.
“This is kind of a surprise,” said Klebl, who became a four-time national champion earlier this month in Houghton, Michigan. “I really didn’t plan on peaking until Germany [the second World Cup], but I’ll take it, I’m stoked — this was a good way to start the World Cup season.”
Klebl credited time on snow for the victory, saying that he’s had more than 70 days of training in Utah prior to starting the competition season.
“I’ve been really fortunate because I’ve been able to get in a lot of training. The Europeans have been hurting — it can’t be good when you have Paralympic champions saying they’ve only been on snow three times. So physically, I’m feeling good.”
U.S. head coach Jon Kreamelmeyer couldn’t have been more excited for Klebl’s first World Cup top three, praising the second-year team member for his outstanding work ethic. “I’m extra proud of Chris, he’s put in a lot of time and work into this season and he deserves to be up there,” he said.
In the standing competition, Steve Cook (standing), who took home three medals from the 2006 Paralympics, finished fourth following a course mistake in the finish arena. Cook accidentally took the wrong lane and had to backtrack to finish the race.
“Cook really should have been up there too,” Kreamelmeyer said. “He was a second back of the leader with one kilometer to go and picked the wrong track and it cost him easily 20 seconds. He’s smiling about it now and actually apologized. It’s just too bad that one mistake cost him a medal — he put in a tremendous effort.”
Monica Bascio (sit-ski) matched Cook in women’s event, finishing fourth in the 5 km, while teammate Kelly Underkofler (standing) was seventh in the 10 km.
“Kelly was in fourth after the first lap then just fell off the pace and Monica may have trained a bit too hard this summer on the hand cycle, but we’ve got a couple of more races tomorrow and they’ll be looking to get up there.”
Action continues Sunday from Finland with a 20 km for the standing men and a 15 km for the sitting men. Women’s standing athletes will have a 15 km and sit-skiers will go 10 km.
Vuokatti disabled World Cup results
Vuokatti, Finland — Jan. 13, 2006
Men’s 10 km — sit-ski
1. Irek Zaripov, Russia, 26:32.4
2. Chris Klebl, Heber City, Utah, 26:55.8
3. Vladimir Kiselev, Russia, 28:21.9
4. Enzo Masiello, Italy, 28:23.5
5. Oliver Anthofer, Austria, 28:33.3
Men’s 10 km — standing
1. Nils Erik Ulset, Norway, 22:01.5
2. Ilkka Tuomisto, Finland, 22:04.3
3. Kirill Mikhaylov, Russia, 22:06.9
4. Steve Cook, Salt Lake City, Utah, 22:22.3
5. Kjartan Haugen, Norway, 22:23.9
Women’s 5 km — sit-ski
1. Irina Polyakova, Russia, 15:15.8
2. Shauna Whyte, Canada, 15:43.9
3. Maria Iovleva, Russia, 16:16.1
4. Monica Bascio, Denver, Colo., 17:20.3
Women’s 10 km — standing
1. Anna Burmistrova, Russia, 25:26.2
2. Alena Gorbunova, Russia, 27:29.7
3. Maija Ltynoja, Finland, 28:45.9
4. Larysa Varona, Belarus, 28:55.9
5. Pamela Novaglio, Italy, 30:15.1
7. Kelly Underkofler, St. Paul, Minn., 31:03.8