Emily Nishikawa Leads Nation’s Best at Haywood NorAms in Quebec
February 02, 2020
MONT-SAINT-ANNE, Que.—Emily Nishikawa was one of five of Canada’s top cross-country skiers who climbed onto the top of the Haywood NorAm podium in Mont-Saint-Anne, Que. this weekend, which was also serving as selections for World Cup period four, as well as the World Junior and Under-23 Championships.
Nishikawa, a two-time Olympian from Whitehorse, enjoyed a golden weekend, winning both the 10-kilometre classic-ski individual start race and Sunday’s 15-kilometre mass start race.
Nishikawa smashed the women’s field in Saturday’s individual start, finishing with a golden time of 29:51.2.
“The conditions were a bit tricky. There were lots of really gradual downhills, but I had fast skis today,” said Nishikawa. “I was confident in my technique to double pole the gradual terrain and I knew I had fast skis for the downhill sections. It worked out well.”
Cendrine Browne (Saint-Jérôme, Que.), was 48.7 seconds back in second at 30:39.9. Andree-Anne Theberge (Skibec) was third at 31:55.9.
Molly Miller, who skis out of Black Jack, won the women’s U20 race with a time of 15:24.8.
Nishikawa found herself back on top of the podium on Sunday after the women’s 15-kilometre mass start. Playing cat and mouse with Browne for most of the race, it was the veteran of the Canadian squad who pulled away from Browne on the third and final lap to win with a time of 43:44.1.
“We were working well together, taking our turns leading. The course has quite a steep climb that goes on and I knew it was a good place to make a move,” said Nishikawa. “I felt pretty good on the last climb, so I went for it.”
Browne placed second at 43:57.5, while Laura Leclair (Chelsea Nordiq) was third at 45:29.5.
Cendrine Browne got the best of Nishikawa in Thursday’s skate-ski sprint race. Traditionally recognized as a distance skier, Browne was fast all day, edging out Laura Leclair and Nishikawa in the final. Leclair was second while Nishikawa snagged the bronze in the sprint.
“I was recovering from a concussion, so it forced me to take some time off which maybe is where I found my sprint legs again,” said the 26-year-old Brown. “It’s fun to be back. I did a time trial last week on the course. Racing at home is always an advantage.”
Elizebeth Elliott (Revelstoke Nordic) was tops in the women’s U20 race.
Three different men were crowned champions over as many days of racing this weekend.
Graham Ritchie (Parry Sound, Ont.) rocketed into the winner’s circle in the men’s skate-ski sprint races on Thursday.
Ritchie, 21, shook off jet lag after recently returning from the World Cup circuit to tackle the challenging Mont-Saint-Anne trails and top the men’s field.
“I knew it was a hard course from a couple of years ago, and just had to go hard and make it hurt,” said Ritchie. “It was eye opening to compete on the World Cup. I adjusted super easy coming back from across the pond. I am pretty lucky and felt good.”
Jesse Cockney, of Canmore, Alta. was second. Ottawa’s Pierre Grall-Johnson was third.
Remi Drolet, of Rossland, B.C. finished on top of the U20 men’s pack.
Antoine Cyr, of Gatineau, Que., took top spot in the men’s 15-kilometre individual start in his return from a disappointing start on the World Cup. The 21-year-old posted a golden time of 40:05.1.
“It was my first time racing in Europe on the World Cup and they were not my best races so this makes up for that,” said Cyr, who is the current sprint and overall NorAm leader. “Winning in Canada was a big confidence booster, knowing I can still be up there against the best in the country.”
Quebec’s Ricardo Izqueirdo-Bernier was second at 40:52.6. Russell Kennedy, of Canmore, Alta., placed third at 40:56.7.
Remi Drolet finished on top in the men’s U20 race with a time of 26:46.2.
Evan Palmer-Charrette, of Thunder Bay, Ont., was the final male champion crowned on a successful weekend of racing on the challenging Quebec trails. Palmer-Charrette edged out Ricardo Izquierdo-Bernier in a photo finish after grinding it for 30 kilometres in Sunday’s mass start race. Palmer-Charrette clocked a time of 1:15:49.7, while Izquierdo-Bernier was 1:15:50.0.
Sam Hendry, of Canmore, Alta., placed third at 1:50.1
“I knew my fitness was pretty good. The plan was to stay in contact with the lead and I knew if I was in touch at the top on the last lap I’d be okay because finishing is a strength of mine,” said Palmer-Charrette.
Complete Haywood NorAm Results: https://zone4.ca/event/2020/4DAE7B86/
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