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X-C sprint: Win No. 1 for Beckie Scott; Newell paces U.S. men

X-C sprint: Win No. 1 for Beckie Scott; Newell paces U.S. men{mosimage}VERNON, B.C. – Canadian Beckie Scott skied to gold and teammate Sara Renner won the bronze in a World Cup cross-country race on Sunday.

Norway’s Tor Arne Hetland won the men’s race.

Scott sent home fans into a frenzy with a dominant victory in the women’s 1.1-kilometer sprint final. Germany’s Claudia Kuenzel was second. American Wendy Wagner was 21st.

It was Scott’s second trip to the podium in as many days – she won silver on Saturday in the 15-kilometer pursuit in Vernon, the first time in 10 years Canada has hosted a World Cup competition.

“We just wanted to race at home, but this definitely exceeds any expectations we had while hosting a World Cup,” said Scott, who captured her first World Cup gold medal in her 11-year career. “I have finished second and third so many times, but to be able to win gold, and do it at home, is absolutely amazing and a dream weekend.”

Scott, of Vermilion, Alberta, began her stellar weekend by winning a silver medal in the women’s 15-kilometer pursuit on Saturday.

“I am feeling the strongest I ever have in my career, and I have trained so hard throughout the summer preparing for these races. I was just curious to see where it stood against some international competition,” said Scott. “I was focused more on the pursuit race this weekend, but today’s result shows my training has prepared me for most disciplines.”

Equally amazing to Scott’s result was the performance of 29-year-old Renner sprinting to her first World Cup medal. Solidifying her stance as one of the strongest sprinters in the world, Renner claimed the bronze medal in the women’s competition in front of the thousands of boisterous Canadian fans who lined the sprint course at the Sovereign Lake Nordic Center.

“My goal today in the final was simple – stick with Beckie,” laughed Renner, who also posted her best-ever pursuit result on Saturday when she finished 12th. “In fact, that has been my strategy throughout my career, so it seems to work. This is such an amazing day, and I think even more rewarding than finishing third at the World Championships last year because it was in Canada.”

“This race today for Canada was way more than just Beckie and I,” Renner said. “It is such a testament to the organizing committee for allowing us to race here, and give so many aspiring Canadian athletes the opportunity to race World Cups who would traditionally be sitting at home and racing NorAms. The performance by these young athletes was incredible today.”

The teams heads east down the Trans-Canada Highway for three more World Cup races at the Canmore Nordic Center from Dec. 15-18.

Andy Newell led three U.S. men into the top 15 Sunday. Newell, who qualified eighth in the 1.3-kilometer prologue, finished 11th with Chris Cook scoring his first World Cup points by finishing 12th while Torin Koos was 14th. It was the first time three U.S. men finished in the top 15 of a World Cup sprint.

– The Associated Press/Cross Country Canada/USSA

1.3-kilometer sprint

1. Tor Arne Hetland, Norway
2. Bjoern Lind, Sweden
3. Ola Vigen Hattestad, Norway
4. Mikael Oestberg, Sweden

Overall standings
(After 6 of 24 events)

1. Tor Arne Hetland, Norway, 335 points
2. Tobias Angerer, Germany, 316
3. Jens Arne Svartedal, Norway, 176
4. Vincent Vittoz, France, 159
5. Eidar Roenning, Norway, 139
6. Peter Larsson, Sweden, 132
7. Bjoern Lind, Sweden, 125
8. Axel Teichmann, Germany, 112

1.1-kilometer sprint

1. Beckie Scott, Canada
2. Claudia Kuenzel, Germany
3. Sara Renner, Canada
4. Manuela Henkel, Germany
5. Hilde G. Pederson, Norway

Overall Standings
(After 6 of 24 events)

1. Marit Bjoergen, Norway, 480 points
2. Claudia Kuenzel, Germany, 269
3. Hilde G. Pederson, Norway, 237
4. Virpi Kuitunen, Finland, 208
5. Katerina Neumannova, Czech Republic, 190
6. Julija Tchepalova, Russia, 185
7. Beckie Scott, Canada, 180
8. Evi Sachenbacher Stehle, Germany, 169

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