Russia's men, Norway's women win WCup team sprints
Mikhail Devjatiarov, left, and Nikolay Morilov, right, from team Russia II celebrate after winning the men 6x1.6 km free sprint world cup event in Liberec, Czech Republic, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
LIBEREC, Czech Republic - Canada's Daria Gaiazova and Perianne Jones teamed up to finish 11th in the team sprint race on Sunday at a World Cup cross-country skiing event.
One day removed from celebrating their career-best World Cup results where the 29-year-old Gaiazova was a boot-length shy of her first individual podium and Jones was ninth, the Canadian duo were hit with some bad luck in their semifinal heat after Jones, of Almonte, Ont., lost a pole and a glove.
"We were right where we wanted to be until another athlete stepped on Peri's pole and pulled it out of her hand," said Eric de Nys, a coach with the Canadian cross-country ski team. "We had coaches in that section, but they were at the bottom where many crashes were happening.
"A French coach also tried to hand her a pole but she missed it. It was just a series of bad luck."
Forced to ski with all legs for nearly 200 metres, the 27-year-old Jones dropped from fifth to ninth where she handed off to Gaiazova for her final rip around the skate-sprint track. Gaiazova, of Banff, Alta., catapulted the Canadians back into fifth in their heat, but Jones ran out of gas for her anchor leg.
The top-two teams in each heat, along with the next six fastest times earn the right to compete in the medal round. The Canadians finished fractions of a second from securing a spot in the finals with the seventh fastest time.
"It was bad luck today, but a very good weekend for the team," said de Nys. "We have good bodies and good speed so the girls will build a lot of confidence from the results here."
The Norwegian team of Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg and Maiken Caspersen Falla won the women's team sprint. Two Swedish teams also skied onto the podium. Stina Nilsson and Ida Ingemarsdotter were second, while Linn Soemskar and Magdalena Pajala locked up the bronze medal.
No Canadian men were entered in the race.