Zach Bell continued his roll to an Olympic berth with his first World Cup medal in Sydney, Australia.
He won a silver in Saturday’s scratch race, part of the first World Cup event of the 2007/2008 season.
“I gotta say things seem to be on the right track so far,” Bell wrote on his website, zerailleur.com.
He had been training Down Under since October, and that move paid off with a podium finish.
Bell was part of a breakaway pack that lapped the rest of the field with 34 laps of 60 to go in the 15-kilometre race.
“The pace built and built for about 15 laps then cracks started to form in the group … I watched and jumped on break I thought would stick … it did … and four of us got around on the field,” he wrote.
German racer Roger Kluge edged out Bell at the finish line, although Bell dominated the race from the start.
“One of the four managed to find his way through the crowd and scoop the win from under my nose,” Bell added.
Bell also posted a seventh-place finish in the points race, a 30-kilometre strategic event in which the top three riders to cross the line every five-kilometres collect points.
The rankings aren’t out yet, but Bell was sitting at number two in points-race standings heading into the race, and will likely be number one now.
That’s a huge boost for his Olympic chances.
“Before the weekend, I would say he had a 60/40 chance of going to the Olympics,” said Greig Bell, Zach’s father.
“Now it’s more like 90/10 — one more result like that will pretty much guarantee him a spot.”
Bell is currently in Beijing for the next World Cup event, which starts today.
Ten Yukon skiers had the opportunity to compete in the first NORAM races of the season in Sovereign Lake, BC.
For all of the Yukon skiers, the races were a first opportunity to measure themselves against some of the best skiers from Canada and the US.
Several racers opted to compete in the older and more competitive open categories instead of staying in their own age group.
Overall, Yukon ski Team coach Alain Masson was satisfied with the results of the weekend races and where the Yukon skiers stand in this early part of the ski season.
Most of our skiers are hoping to perform at their best later in the season.
After the weekend, all of them know exactly where they stand in this early season and how much they need to improve in order to reach their goals in the next few months of racing.
Top Yukon results:
Emily Nishikawa, 7th
Brittany Pearson, 6th
Heidi Brook, 9th
David Greer, 12th
Colin Abbott, 25th
Brittany Pearson, 6th
Heidi Brook, 7th
David Greer, 10th
Graham Nishikawa, 8th
Graham Nishikawa, 12th
Emily Nishikawa, 22nd
Whitehorse Recreational Hockey League
Regular season standings as of December 3rd (Team, win-loss-tie, points):
1st Boston Pizza, 10-3-2, 22
2nd Whitehorse Mustangs,
3rd Yukon Appliance,
4th Cinderwood Canucks,
5th Roadhouse, 3-7-4, 10
6th Air North, 2-9-1, 5
1st Terra Firma Muckers,
2nd ORC Tree Services,
3rd Narrow Gauge,
4th Sports North, 6-7-2, 14
5th U-Brew Bruins,
6th Kluane Drillers, 4-8-1, 9
7th Envirolube Oilers,
8th Yukon Inn Boiler Room,
The Yukon Curling Association announced the teams that will represent Yukon at their respective national championships this curling season:
Junior women’s team — skip Sarah Koltun, third Chelsea Duncan, second Linea Eby, and lead Tessa Vibe. Coaches Gord Moffat and Lindsay Moldowan.
Junior men’s team — skip Thomas Scoffin, third Will Mahoney, second Nicholas Koltun, and lead Mitchell Young. Coaches Wade Scoffin and Ron Koltun.
These two rinks will compete at the 2008 Canadian National Junior Championships in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on February 2-10.
Master women’s team — skip Pat Banks, third Madeline Boyd, second Ev Pasichnyk, lead Elaine Sumner.
Master men’s team — skip Dave Kalles, third Jim Holt, second Gerry Amann, lead John DeVries.
These two rinks will represent Yukon at the 2008 Canadian Open Masters’ Championships in Nanaimo, BC in April.