Antoine Cyr, Graham Ritchie, Pierre Grall-Johnson Ski into World Cup Points in Norway
DRAMMEN, Nor.—Antoine Cyr led a trio of Canadian men into the heats at the World Cup in Drammen, Norway on Friday where he posted a career-best 19th-place finish in the classic-ski sprint race.
Cyr (Gatineau, Que.) and Graham Ritchie (Parry Sound, Ont.) – who combined to finish fifth in the team sprint at the Olympics – along with Pierre Grall-Johnson (Ottawa) who just competed in the Under-23 World Championships – all cracked the top-30.
None of the three Canadians were able to advance past the quarter-final round, however, Cyr and Grall-Johnson both had personal best World Cup results. Cyr skied to 19th place, while Grall-Johnson was 27th. Ritchie put up a strong fight to 21st spot.
“Drammen is such a historic venue. I watched Drammen on TV as a little kid with my dad, so it was a dream come true to race there. That was a really good day – not just for me but the whole team. It was great to have three guys in the heats.”
“It was my best World Cup sprint result, which is such a good feeling. I’m feeding off that fifth-place finish in the team sprint at the Olympics. I’m now feeling more confident on the World Cup and I know what my capabilities are. I am stoked with this result.”
“My other dream to come true will be doing the 50k in (Oslo) Holmenkollen this weekend. That is the peak of Nordic skiing, and it will be crazy. (Graham) Ritchie and I trained there this week. We were skiing around the World Championship course where Devon (Kershaw) and Alex (Harvey) won, and we thought maybe that will be us one day. 50K are always so tough but I’m really looking forward to it.”
“It’s been really nice to get back into the heats twice in a row now. I’m still trying to figure out the tactics and getting myself into the semis, but it is moving in the right direction, so I’m stoked on that. Our boards were also amazing. The techs did an unreal job today.”
“It felt good to make the heats for the first time (on the World Cup). I had a really good prep yesterday so that helped me feel confident going into today. My heat started well. I was feeling fresh, strong and relaxed. I knew the back hill was my weakest part of the course, and I pushed it well but unfortunately got tangled with the Swedish athlete and went down to the ground with a broken pole. Overall, it was a good experience and I’m hungry for more.”
Richard Jouve, of France, sprinted to the gold medal in the men’s race. Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla won the women’s event.
Other Canadian results include:
44. Xavier McKeever (Canmore, Alta.) – first World Cup race
46. Olivier Léveillé (Sherbrooke, Que.)
40. Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt (Morin Heights, Que.)
41. Dahria Beatty (Whitehorse)
48. Katherine Stewart-Jones (Chelsea, Que.)
51. Laura Leclair (Chelsea, Que.)
53. Cendrine Browne (Prévost, Que.)