The Yukon Elite Squad is just in its first season and the accomplishments keep rolling in for the five-person Whitehorse team.
Its latest achievement: a medal at the Tour de Twin Cities, which is part of the U.S.‘s Super Tour, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Whitehorse’s David Greer skied to a bronze out of 129 racers in the men’s 20-kilometre classic on Sunday.
“My goals for these races were to get on the podium, and maybe win a race,” said Greer in an email to the News.
“I had a little setback last week when I got sick and I haven’t trained much since then so I didn’t know quite what to expect. I wasn’t actually 100 per cent sure if it was a good idea to start the races this weekend because my lungs were still pretty congested.
“I decided to race but didn’t feel very good in yesterday’s (Saturday) race, it was obvious to me that I hadn’t raced or done any intensity in a while. I felt like I was missing that top end racing gear.”
Greer completed the 20-kilometre race in 47 minutes and 55.4 seconds, just 2.4 seconds behind the first-place finisher.
Sunday’s race consisted of six laps of a 3.3-kilometre loop, much of which was filled in with man-made snow because of warm weather. A drop in temperatures Saturday night froze the track and made it fast.
The course “didn’t have any huge climbs in it to break to up the field, so it was a very tight race. It felt more like a criterium than a ski race,” said Greer. “You needed to be really aggressive to stay near the front. I consider myself lucky not to have fallen or been taken out because racers were falling right, left and centre throughout the entire race! It was very chaotic.”
Greer also placed 11th in a 10-kilometre free event on Saturday in the Tour de Twin Cities.
Yukon Elite Squad teammates John Parry and Knute Johnsgaard also competed in Minneapolis in the same races. Johnsgaard placed 25th on Saturday and 27th on Sunday. Parry took 31st Saturday and 21st Sunday.
Greer won a bronze in a Haywood NorAm at the start of December to qualify for the Alberta World Cup the same month. Johnsgaard and Parry also qualified for the World Cup event and skied in one race.
Yukon Elite Squad member Colin Abbott is currently competing at the FIS Nordic Junior & U23 World Ski Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic.
Greer, Parry and Johnsgaard are now heading to a Haywood NorAm event this weekend in Duntroon, Ont., which is the second half of the Team Canada trails for the 2013 World Senior Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy, in February.
In the first half of the trials at the start of the month in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Greer produced two eighth-place finishes.
Whitehorse siblings Emily and Graham Nishikawa will also be there hoping to secure a spot on Canada’s world championship team. Emily won two golds and a bronze in Thunder Bay while her brother won a gold and took in two fourth-place finishes.
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