Three Quebecers were in action Saturday in the freestyle sprint at the cross-country skiing World Cup in Goms, Switzerland. Antoine Cyr, Liliane Gagnon and Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt were, however, unable to continue their day after qualifying.
Of the lot, it was Gagnon who obtained the best result when she ranked 31e. She was 0.24 seconds from 30e and last place giving access to the next phase. On the men’s side, Antoine Cyr ended his day at 35e rank.
As for her, Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt took the 41e level of the women’s race. The Morin Heights athlete, who was only in her third World Cup outing of the season, admits that she would have liked to give more, while freestyle sprints are one of her favorite events.
“I think I could clearly have succeeded in breaking through the top 30 and move on to the elimination waves. It’s a shame, I’m missing a little something. On the other hand, I must say that it was still a very beautiful day. The temperature was ideal, it was sunny and there were a lot of spectators, even for qualifying,” explained Bouffard-Nesbitt in an interview with Sportcom.
The women’s final was the affair of the Swede Linn Svahn who beat her compatriots Maja Dahlquist (+2.16 seconds) and Jonna Sundling (+2.22 seconds). Among the men, it was the Norwegian Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo who emerged victorious in a fiercely contested final. He got the better of Frenchman Lucas Chanavat (+0.08 seconds), as well as Haavard Solaas Taugboel (+0.73 seconds), also from Norway.
The road back
Bouffard-Nesbitt competed in two races at the World Cup in Oberhof, Germany, held January 19-21. Before this competition, the Quebecer had not started a World Cup since December 2022, in Davos, Switzerland.
During this absence from the big circuit, Bouffard-Nesbitt was able to achieve a few podiums in the US Super Tour, in the North American circuit as well as at the National Championships. Interesting results which certainly gave him confidence.
“My races went well this fall, especially in Anchorage, Alaska, where I made a podium in the sprint. I was happy with my form at the time and it really encouraged me towards a return to the World Cup. I stayed positive and that really helped. »
The 31-year-old, however, described her return to the World Cup as a “reality check”, noting that it will take a few more outings before she finds the level of competitiveness she wants to achieve.
“I’m definitely missing training, I’m not where I want to be. I suffered a shoulder injury last summer and my training suffered. You can’t hide in the World Cup! It’s good to see where I end up because I can know what I need to practice on,” she continued.
Bouffard-Nesbitt, however, says she is excited for the end of the season, as she will have the chance to participate in the World Cup in Canmore, from February 9 to 13.
“I’m looking forward to the next World Cups, I live in Canmore, so it’s definitely a home competition in two weeks. It’s going to be special! It’s a course that I know very well. Plus, we expect to see lots of our young teammates in action, I’m really looking forward to it,” she concluded.
In the meantime, the action will resume on Sunday in Goms with the presentation of the 20 kilometer freestyle mass start events.