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LYGNA, Nor.— Léo Grandbois was the lone Canadian to crack the top-10 in the opening race for cross-country ski athletes in the U23 category at the Nordic World Ski Championships, finishing ninth on Thursday in Lygna, Norway.

The 22-year-old Quebecer squeaked into the elite group of 10 after clocking a time of 41:07.3 in the men’s 15-kilometre individual start classic-ski race.

“When I start a race, I always want to get the gold, and I’ll continue to do that, but I have to be happy to finish in the top-10 in my first international Under-23 race cross-country skiing,” said Grandbois.  

Grandbois bolted out of the start gate, skiing on a podium pace in the first of three laps on the hilly Norwegian track. He continued to post top-five splits until the 10-kilometre mark when he began to slowly drop time to the fastest skiers on the day.

“I wanted to push the first 5 kilometres to be in a top position and then just survive the rest,” added Grandbois, who was aware of where he stood in the race. “I think I suffered a bit on that second lap, but when the coaches were yelling at me that I was in the top-three, I thought ‘I’ll just die on this track if I need to.’

“It was bittersweet today because I was only 15 seconds from the podium, but I know I gave it all I had today.”

Finland’s Arsi Ruuskanen was crowned World Champion with a time of 40:23.0. Sweden’s Leo Johanssson skied to the silver medal at 40:29.7. Norway’s Haavard Moseby clocked a bronze-medal pace of 40:51.1.

Sam Hendry (Canmore, Alta.) was the next best Canadian in 18th spot at 41:37.1. Ottawa’s Pierre Grall-Johnson was 29th (42:14.0), and Joe Davies (Pemberton, B.C.) placed 35th at 42:39.5.

Anna Parent, of Canmore, Alta., was the only Canadian woman to ski into the top-20, placing 17th in the  10-kilometre classic-ski race. Parent completed her two laps on the hard-packed trails in a time of 31:45.6.

Other Canadian women’s results included: Beth Granstrom (Revelstoke, B.C.) in 37th at 32:42.7; Calgary’s Anna Pryce, who is on the Montana State University Ski Team, placed 40th at 32:47.8. Ontario’s Bronwyn Williams, who skis for the Carleton Ravens varsity team, was 49th at 33:51.7.

Switzerland’s Anja Weber was the only athlete to complete the course in under 30 minutes, securing her the World Championship title (29:59.8). Latvia’s Patricija Eiduka finished 1.3 seconds off the leading pace in second (30:01.1), while Russia’s Veronika Stepanova stopped the clock at 30:12.9 for third spot.

The junior Canucks will be back on the start line on Friday for the 5- and 10-kilometre classic-ski races. 

Complete Results: https://bit.ly/3BHkZyX

Nordiq Canada is the governing body of para-nordic and cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 60,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, Swix and Lanctôt Sports– along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2Ten, Nordiq Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic and World champions. For more information on Nordiq Canada, please visit us at www.nordiqcanada.ca.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Chris Dornan

Media and Public Relations

Nordiq Canada

T: 403-620-8731