This first day of the Gatineau Loppet saw more than 1,000 skiers propel themselves through the trails of Gatineau Park for this day of classic style racing. Every one of them revelled at the thought of the promise of a beautiful day under the brilliant winter sun. For the very first time in five years, the trails remained unchanged, with more than enough snow cover to accommodate today’s races!
27.5 km classic
For the 27.5 km, 20 year-old Samuel Dostie-Ménard from Gatineau crossed the finish line with a swift time of 1:18:56. He managed to carve a serious spread of close to 2:21 ahead of second place finisher Evan Odell, from Mississauga, Ontario. Sam Morse came in third, close to 5 minutes behind in 1:26:05. As often happens with the 30 km, the women arrived shortly after the men. The first to cut through the finish line was Chelsea’s young Michelle Workun-Hill, with a time of 1:27:33, followed 3:20 minutes later by Catherine Auclair, and Frédérique Vézina 5:45 minutes after the winner.
51 km classic
Jon Arne Enevoldson, a resident of Canmore originally from Norway, sprinted to first place in the 51 km classic ahead of longtime Loppet finalist Phil Shaw, from Rosemère. Previous title holder Juergen Uhl came in third, 2:15 minutes behind the winner. The first woman to cross the finish line was Russian veteran Tatiana Larionova, with a time of 3:21:23. She was followed by Ottawa’s Carley Kenwell after 2:09 minutes, and Rimouski’s Louise Martineau after 3:42 minutes.
The Prime Minister of Estonia, Mr. Andrus Ansip, finished the race in great spirits with a time of just over 4 hours, surrounded by RCMP officers specially recruited for their skiing prowess.
16 and 5 km classics
The afternoon’s 16 and 5 km races were mostly about youth and kids. The young athletes, eager to let loose on the trails of Gatineau Park, were closely trailed by the 5 km peloton containing many boys and girls, often accompanied by their parents, and ready to give it their personal best. The next generation of skiers is well on the way! The 5 km race was sponsored by the Embassy of Switzerland, which handed out chocolates to every contestant crossing the finish line, and awards to the winners.
Results of the 16 km classic
Nicholas Pigeon, Gatineau – 48:08
Matt Brown, Caledon – 48:08
William Dumas, Gatineau – 48:30
Katie Prufer, Caledon – 57:53
Ariane Cyr, Lac-Beauport – 1:01:00
Orlagh OKelly, Ottawa – 1:04:24
Results of the 5 km classic
Ian Holstead, Ottawa – 13:08
Raphael Dumas, Gatineau – 14:01
Nilan McIntosh, Chelsea – 14:16
Laura Leclair, Chelsea – 14:47
Alana Hennessy, Chelsea – 15:06
Leanne Weller, Chelsea – 15:32
Tomorrow, Sunday February 19, again promises to be superb, with sun and a forecast high of -2. More than 1,200 skiers have already signed up for the 51, 27.5and 10 km freestyle races, and we are expecting many more to register onsite in the morning. And that doesn’t include the Mini 2 km Sport Échange Outaouais for the kids! The afternoon will be festive and fun, with the Carnaval Soleil Polaire, which will take place both inside and outside École secondaire Mont-Bleu, at 389 Boul Cité-des-Jeunes, Gatineau.
Everyone is welcome!