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Bjarne Rickardson (SWE)
Sprint Classic
Park City, Utah
Saturday, March 28, 1998

Marcel Waser (SUI) finished ahead of teammate Patrik Leopold by .26 today, decidedly snagging the men's overall by a narrow margin. Going into this season's final sprint classic, Waser had been second behind Leopold by a mere four points.

Bjarne Rickardson (SWE) finished 1st, 2.67 ahead of second place finisher Chris Rice (USA). This was Rice's 5th top-5 finish out of six World Cup races this week. Waser finished 3rd and Leopold 4th.

Grete Flemmen (NOR) 6th
Marina Branger from Switzerland took 1st for the women. Leslie Beck (GBR) beat her own record from Thursday (3rd place in classic sprint) by making this 2nd place finish the best yet for Great Britain. Andrea Walker (SUI) finished third, .13 behind Beck. Hege Johansson, a lift operator in her native Norway, won the women's overall title in spite of coming in 9th in this race.

This sprint classic was the first ever dual format in World Cup telemark racing. Though much was at stake for the competitors in this final race of the season, there was much fun to be had in spite of challenging conditions today. It dumped light Utah powder (though discriminating locals boasted of lighter fluff) during most of the race and at times visibility was minimal. However, the course did stay nice and cold.

"The existing snow on this sprint classic course froze up so all they had to do was clear it off to get to the ice, said Jim Ludlow, president of the US Telemark Skiing Association (USTSA), local Park City regular and racer, "whereas in the giant slalom and the classic, it became granular and started to break away so salt was applied to preserve the quality of the course."

The sprint classic is a shorter version of the classic, with giant slalom, jump, reipelykkja and a uphill sections to the finish line. The dual format made an exciting day for spectators. Racers rounded the reipelykkjas (Norwegian for loop of rope) from the outside toward the center of the dual course — a few near misses and one collision with no casualties between former and current USTSA Presidents Scott McGee and Jim Ludlow added to the fun. Their skis scissored, but each managed to recover without falling as they headed uphill for the finish.

Click for Official Sprint Classic Results.

Michelle Quigley, Mountain Zone Staff

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