Cross-country news - 8/2/6
The UK’s club skiers showed the progress made in recent years, by recording possibly the best performance ever at the national cross-country skiing championships in Ruhpolding, Germany. Against an ever dominant military force, the civvies recorded 3 overall first places and numerous junior and youth titles.
Alan Eason of the London Nordic Ski Club took gold medal in the 15k classic event, to become one of the first non-military skier to clinch the title of national champion in its long history. He went on to put in an excellent performance in the 10k pursuit race, finishing third.
On the womens side, Posy Musgrave of the Huntly Nordic Ski Club won the 5k pursuit with an excellent skating leg to become ladies national pursuit champion. Posy, a Birmingham student, and former member of the GB Junior Nordic Development squad, managed this despite spending no more than a couple of weeks on snow this season. Fellow ex junior squad member Olwen Thorn put in an equally strong performance to finish runner-up in the 10k classic race.
The cross-country races were well attended this year. The mens 15k classic attracted 150 British skiers, with 10 coming from ski clubs including the Yorkshire Dales, Manchester, Cairngorm and London. The ladies 10k had 31 entrants with 6 coming from UK ski clubs.
The junior and youth performance was no less impressive. In the youth 10k classic, the GB Junior Development Squad (made up mainly of skiers from the Huntly and Cairngorm ski clubs in Scotland) took the top four places. In the 7.5k pursuit mass start race, 13 year old Andrew Young finished second - by half a second - to Simon Allanson of the GB Biathlon Development squad, with teammates Alastair Duncan, Simon Spencer and Simon Platt all finishing in the top 10.
The performance of the junior squad is a credit to team manager Angharad Evans and her coaching team of Marek Pasterny and Peter Gurney. The performance of the junior and senior non-military skiers is also a tribute to the value of training all year round on rollerskis. While most of the military teams are able to train for several months on snow in the run up to competition, most civilian skiers must make do with training on dry land and the occasional trip away.
It is very interesting to note that the positions of the juniors in theses races are fairly well reflected by their relative positions in rollerski racing in the summer. The military teams' absence from rollerski racing remains a mystery - especially with such an excellent programme of racing both in Huntly (Aberdeenshire) and in Hillingdon, West London throughout the summer and autumn months.
Congratulations must go the organisers of this year’s meeting in Ruhpolding, Germany, for once again putting on an excellently organised event. For further information on the meeting, as well as a comprehensive set of results for both cross-country and biathlon races, please visit the British Biathlon Union’s website, www.britishbiathlon.comGB rollerskis series 2005 – final standings