FINLAND – The best Canadian cross-country skiers are finally back on the world cup circuit after plans for the season were chopped down over two months ago due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
The time off had the Canucks raring to go as Katherine Stewart-Jones, Cendrine Browne, and Russell Kennedy all skied to top-30 spots and world cup points on Saturday (Jan. 23) in Lahti, Finland.
Kennedy, 30, of Canmore, finished 29th in the men’s 30-kilometre skiathlon at a time of 1:12:59.2 in the race that combines ski skating and classic skiing.
“I am pumped up. That was a sweet first race to start the season off,” said the 2018 Olympian in a press release. “It’s a hard way to get into the world cup season but it was so nice to finally race again.
“It is super good to know the training has worked and I also know I have a little bit more in me to give.”
Stewart-Jones of Chelsea, Que., and training out of Canmore, was 24th in the women’s 15 km skiathlon at a time of 41:08.6. It was the 25-year-old's best result on the world cup.
“It was good to get the first race of the season done, and I’m also very happy to get a new personal best result,” Stewart-Jones said in a press release.
Browne, 27, of Saint-Jérôme, Que., finished 27th at 41:30.0.
“There was a big fall in the first kilometre of the race that I couldn’t avoid and ended up nearly last. I had to be very strong mentally, be patient and trust myself for the rest of the race,” said Browne in a press release.
According to Nordiq Canada, it was the first time two Canadian women finished in the top-30 in the same race since 2014.
For full race results, visit fis-ski.com/en/cross-country.