Katherine Stewart-Jones and Graham Ritchie Enjoy Career-Best Word Cup Finishes at Cross-Country Skiing World Cup in Davos
DAVOS, Sui.— Katherine Stewart-Jones skied one spot shy of the top-10 while bettering her career-best finish by two spots, while Graham Ritchie had the best weekend overall of his young career at the cross-country skiing World Cup in Davos, Switzerland on Sunday.
Stewart-Jones, of Chelsea, Que., bolted to an 11th-place time of 50:23.7 in the women’s 20-kilometre individual start skate-ski race.
“It was a great way to end period 1 (on the World Cup),” said Stewart-Jones. “It was a new format in the 20-kilometre individual, but it also meant a lot of opportunity to get rides out there today.”
Stewart-Jones started conservatively out of the gate but cranked up the pace in the final two of four loops on the cold, hard-packed trails under ideal sunny race conditions. The 2022 Olympian quietly picked up time on the field, progressing through each stride while working her way up the standings.
“I got caught by Delphine Claudel (France) at about the 7-kilometre mark and skied with her to the finish,” said Stewart-Jones, who was 13th earlier this month in a 20-killometre mass start race. “It allowed me to ski relaxed and consistently.”
Jessie Diggins, of the United States, set the top women’s time of the day at 48:43.2 to take the final World Cup win before the holiday break. Norway’s Ingvild Oestberg was closing in on the American in the back half of the race, but ran out of runway, posting a second-place time of 48:48.7. Rosie Brennan, of the United States, won the bronze medal with a time of 48:54.4.
Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt, of Morin Heights, Que., skied into the elite group after grabbing the final spot in the top-30 with a time of 51:58.1. Bouffard-Nesbitt had a career-best 25th in Saturday’s sprint race.
Dahria Beatty, of Whitehorse, skied to 32nd spot at 52:41.2. Quebec City’s Liliane Gagnon was 40th at 55:49.6.
One day removed from matching his best World Cup sprint result, Graham Ritchie, of Parry Sound, Ont., delivered the best distance performance of his career in the men’s 20-kilometre individual start skate-ski race.
Recognized as a sprinter, the 24-year-old shattered his career-best distance result on the elite cross-country ski circuit, clocking a 21st-place time of 43:54.5.
The former hockey player’s Olympic teammate, Antoine Cyr, also skied into the top-30 for the second time in as many days. Cyr, of Gatineau, Que., placed 24th at 44:06.2.
The Norwegians swept the men’s podium. Simen Krueger finished on top with a time of 42:12.3. Hans Holund charged onto the silver-medal step of the podium with a time of 42:34.6. Sjur Roethe completed the sweep with a bronze-medal time of 42:36.8.