For the second time in as many weeks, Yukon’s Graham Nishikawa, 25, left a World Cup event with a 66th-place finish. However, there is a silver lining.
Racing in the in the 15-kilometre classic in Kuusamo, Finland, the Team Canada cross-country skier crossed the finish line within two-minutes (one minute, 45 seconds) of the winner, Norway’s Petter Northug, just as he had last week in Norway.
“I am happy with my race, but at the same time a bit disappointed with my placing,” wrote Nishikawa in an e-mail to theNews. “The important thing is that the time behind the winner is very close. There were some big names – former world champions – that finished right around me which shows how competitive the races are.”
Canada’s best result came from Ivan Babikov, who finished 38th.
“We (Canada) struggled with the best men’s result being 38th but it’s a long season and the difference between being in the 60s versus the top 20 is not much,” wrote Nishikawa. “I am happy with the start of my season, but I am still looking for that big race.”
Last week in Norway, Nishikawa also helped Team Canada to a 10th place finish in the 4×10-kilometre relay.
To start the season, Nishikawa raced in the Scandinavian Cup in Bruksvallarna, Sweden, taking 15th out of a field of 142 skiers in the 15-kilometre skate. In the race he was the third Canadian over the finish line, coming in just one second behind Quebec’s Alex Harvey.
Nishikawa is currently on his way back to Canada to prepare for the Olympic trials beginning December 12.
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