CANMORE – The Norwegian men swept the podium and Sweden’s Frida Karlsson was Canmore's queen of the classic in the 20km mass start classic at the 2024 FIS COOP Cross Country World Cup, Sunday (Feb. 11) at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Continuing a dominant trend, the Norwegian men won a third straight gold medal at the Canmore World Cup – seven total (three gold, three silver, one bronze) – when Paal Golberg (52:10.7) edged out countryman Johannes Klaebo (52:10.9) on Sunday afternoon.
Mattis Stenshagen (52:11.2) took bronze, which was also his first World Cup podium.
Karlsson won her 23rd World Cup medal when she crossed the finish line in first place at a time of 57:08.2.
Finland's Kerttu Niskanen (57:09.8) took silver and Norway's Heidi Weng (57:16.3) took home bronze.
Top-ranked Canadian woman Katherine Stewart-Jones made her 2024 Canmore World Cup debut in the 20km classic. The 28-year-old Olympian has been battling an illness for the past six weeks.
She finished 28th in the six-lap race and was fighting with the top pack until the third lap.
“I felt so relaxed in the first couple of laps and it hit me pretty suddenly,” said Stewart-Jones. “I’d barely done any intensity for a while, so I think my body wasn’t used to it and I was getting some pretty bad cramps in my arms and legs so I knew I had to slow down and keep an even pace and I was able to do that. So I’m just proud I was able to finish and not blow up too much.”
Olympian Antoine Cyr was the top Canuck, finishing 16th in the men’s race at a time of 52:42.1.
After not starting in Saturday’s sprints, Cyr said he felt like a caged lion watching the fast races in his hotel room.
“I like to say I got benched yesterday from the coaches, but in reality, they thought it was better for me to sit out,” said Cry with a laugh. “Skate sprinting has been complicated this year, so I think it was the right decision, especially in Canmore. It’s a little bit more altitude and four races in five days is a little bit nuts, so I think it was a good decision, with 16th place today, I think we made a good call."
Sam Hendry of Canmore finished a World Cup best 21st, while rising prospect Xavier McKeever of Canmore finished 49th.
The Canmore World Cup resumes Tuesday (Feb. 13) for the sprint classic races, starting at 9 a.m. for the qualifications. The finals are at 11:30 a.m.
CBC Sports is broadcasting the races.