Russian skiers, as well as biathletes, are gradually completing preparations for the winter season. One of the test starts for them was the national championship on roller skis in Malinovka. True, not everyone went to the competition. Alexander Bolshunov and Alexei Chervotkin suffered back injuries at the end of August during a training camp in Raubichi, Belarus, and are currently undergoing the recovery process.
"They are still training in a gentle mode - only on roller skis. The athletes did not do the work that is necessary for the competition. They have certain limitations," said coach Yuriy Borodavko.
In addition, according to the expert, Alexander Terentyev, Denis Spitsov and Artem Maltsev fell ill at the same training camp and were not ready to start in the Arkhangelsk region. And Natalia Nepryaeva recently underwent surgery under general anesthesia.
"Only Nikita Denisov, Daria Nepryaeva and Maria Istomina remained in the ranks. Vanya Yakimushkin recovered from his illness. So I have only four people training now," Borodavko said.
Not everyone was in great shape in the group of Yegor Sorin. So, Sergey Ustyugov, who was ill, decided to miss the Russian Championship, and Yulia Stupak thought to the last whether to run at the Russian Championship.
"Julia did not succeed at these competitions, because there were certain problems in the last couple of weeks. I will not go into details. Before the competition, the question was raised whether she should run or not. She was able to pull herself together and tune in to the sprint. But the result of that race (11th place. - RT) showed that she was not ready to compete, "Sorin said.
Veronika Stepanova immediately dropped out of the fight for medals at the tournament. In the "cutting" freestyle for 15 kilometers, the Olympic champion fell on the descent and after that she did not go to the start again.
"If you're afraid of scars, don't start cross-country skiing. Scars adorn a real woman," the athlete joked in her Telegram channel.
Duel of Yakimushkin and Korostelev
Nevertheless, even in the absence of Alexander Bolshunov and Sergey Ustyugov, the competition in Malinovka turned out to be quite interesting. The audience saw another, no less principled duel - between Ivan Yakimushkin and Savely Korostelev. They staged a real battle in distance racing.
"Cutting" freestyle for 20 kilometers remained for the silver medalist of the Games in Beijing. He slowly passed the first quarter of the distance, slightly inferior to the young compatriot, but then gained momentum and "brought" the opponent 23.7 seconds. Bronze in this type of program went to Evgeny Belov, who walked along the track with Yakimushkin.
In the race for 20 kilometers "classic" Korostelev took a kind of revenge. Moreover, it went through the same scenario as the first. Only this time Ivan was in the lead at first, but in the end he still lost to Savely. And Ermil Vokuev, who usually runs ski marathons in winter, broke into the top three. He practically did not lag behind Ivan, but at the finish he did not have enough strength. The athlete was content with bronze, pushing Ilya Semikov to the fourth position.
At the same time, sharing his expectations from the upcoming season, Yakimushkin admitted that he would like to see more contact races in the competition program, and not "cuts".
"As for me, the format has become really much more interesting. Because, in addition to the first stage of the Russian Cup, in each subsequent one we will have either a mass start, or a pursuit, or a skiathlon, and in some we will have two "mass" races. It seems to me that this will increase the attention of the audience. And it will be much more interesting for athletes - after all, this is a contact struggle, "said the skier.
The only contact race at the Russian Championships in Malinovka was the sprint, which turned out to be "scandalous" for men. The final with a fairly large advantage over other rivals was won by Andrey Kuznetsov. Moreover, the skier for the first time in his career achieved such success. Last year, he was close to the gold medal, but lost to Gleb Retivykh.
However, Sergey Ardashev, who finished second, filed a protest against this result, because, according to the athlete, the winner violated the rules on one of the climbs.
"Andrei and I rolled out of the descent one after another and started working. I understood that it was necessary to turn on the plain in order to take an advantageous position on the ascent. I felt that I was "eating" Andrei with every meter, being to the left, after which he abruptly shifted in my direction when we walked almost parallel. There was contact, I had to switch from a simultaneous move to a run earlier and lose speed. After that, I turned on again, but was blocked on the climb for the second time, finally lost my rhythm and could not compete on equal terms at the finish, "Ardashev explained in an interview with the Championship.
Kuznetsov, in turn, was surprised by the protest. According to the skier, he did not violate the rules and deserved a yellow card at most.
"On that section of the track, everyone shifts to the left, and I went to the left. I didn't see anyone on the side, because I was in front - this is clearly visible in the video recordings. When he began to shift, Sergey shouted to me that he was nearby - I went back. Then I didn't change the trajectory, I didn't move to the left. On the contrary, it was Sergey who began to shift a little to the right, in my direction, and ran almost on sticks. Nevertheless, this did not affect the result in any way, I ran away from him three meters, "the athlete said.
According to Andrei, he himself would never have turned to the judges in such a situation.
"How many sprints I ran, how many I was pinched and not allowed to drive - there were no protests on my part. What's the point of that?" the athlete added.
As it turned out, in the case of Ardashev, it made sense. The jury took his position and gave the gold medal to the representative of Tatarstan, although there is not a single video in which this episode would be clearly visible. The second in the end was Ivan Bezmaternykh, the third - Andrei Parfyonov. And Kuznetsov was content with only the last, sixth place in the final.
Two gold medals of Faleeva
The summer championship of Russia was successful for Anastasia Faleeva. She performed superbly in the sprint. Already in the quarterfinals, the athlete became the only one who managed to break away from her rivals for more than a second. Just as confidently, she held the decisive race, leaving no chance for her competitors. Alyona Baranova was 1.90 seconds behind her, and Daria Nepryaeva was 3.02 seconds behind.
In the "cutting" of the classic style for 15 kilometers, Faleeva again turned out to be head and shoulders stronger than her rivals. At the first and second control marks, she was ahead of her closest pursuers by more than 11 seconds, and at the finish line she brought twice as much - 22.
For silver and bronze there was a stubborn struggle between Olga Tsareva, Maria Istomina and Elizaveta Pantrina. In the end, they finished in that order. Especially offensive in this case should be the representative of the Tyumen region. It was separated from the bronze by four-tenths of a second.
Interestingly, the 22-year-old Faleeva, who has already been on the podium at the World Youth Championships, has a victory at the Russian Summer Championship in 2020, but she still did not win two awards of the highest dignity at the adult level in the summer.
Olga Yakimushkina drew attention to herself in the race. The wife of the silver medalist of the Games in Beijing recently gave birth to a child, but has already gained shape. And in the "cutting" at first I was even in the lead, but I could not keep the pace in the end. However, she finished eighth, which is certainly a very good result.
- © Russian Cross-Country Skiing Federation
Pekletsova's bright start
Fans began to follow the young Alina Pekletsova after the Russian Cross-Country Skiing Championship. Then the athlete from the Vologda region surprised everyone by finishing second in the 10-kilometer freestyle.
After this success, the now 17-year-old skier was taken under her wing by the federation of the Arkhangelsk region. And, it seems, she did not lose. At the very first start after the spring success, albeit in the absence of Natalia Nepryaeva, Pekletsova confidently took gold in another race from a separate start for 15 km with her favorite freestyle.
Only at the very beginning Ekaterina Smirnova managed to move her from the first place, but then Alina came forward and began to increase her advantage. She brought her opponent 44.1 seconds at the finish line. Against this background, the battle for bronze, which Anastasia Prokofieva won against Alesya Rushentseva, remained in the background.
The classic style of Pekletsova is not so impressive, in the second "cutting" she lost to Faleeva for almost a minute and a half. Nevertheless, she still got into the top ten.
Interestingly, Alina, like Anastasia, left Malinovka with two gold medals. The second she, however, earned not on roller skis, but in the athletics cross country at 5 km. the Girl was 32.3 seconds ahead of the finisher second Daria Nepryaeva.
The leaders of the Russian men's team did not take the race so responsibly. Many did not go to the start at all. And Yakimushkin finished only seventh. The fastest distance of eight kilometers was covered by Sergey Sharov.
- © Russian Cross-Country Skiing Federation