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Alexander Panzhinskiy and Olga Tsareva win the sprints at Cross-Country Skiing Russian Cup


KRASNOYARSK – As November gave way to the last month of the year, this Siberian city got even closer to the Winter Universiade 2019 that it will host from 2-12 March. One of the main Universiade venues – the Raduga Cluster sports complex – was put to the test as the Cross-Country Skiing Russian Cup 1st stage was held here over the first weekend of December.

In rather testing frosty and windy conditions, Olympic silver medalist from the Vancouver 2010 Games, Alexander Panzhinskiy led a top line field of competition that included 133 men and 87 women. The star skier from Moscow coasted to gold at the Russian Cup, as he took the leading position in each of the sprint stages. 


The competitions began with the qualification rounds involving all skiers, with the top 30 men and women advancing to their respective quarterfinals. Only the top 12 made it to the semifinals and the last 6 competed in the final. Pazhinsky cemented his place on top of the podium with a result of 3:29.41 minutes. 


“I had to change my tactics and strategy because of the difficult weather conditions,” he said after the win. “But it was worth it. I like the Raduga Cluster very much because of the good lighting and wide course. I believe athletes who come here for the Winter Universiade will be glad with the venue.”


In the women’s competition, Khristina Matsokina maintained the lead throughout the first three stages but was pipped to the post by Olga Tsareva by six-one hundredths of a second at the end. Tsareva improved steadily, going from a “lucky loser” fourth in her quarterfinal to second in the semifinals. She  finished in 3:35.08 minutes  to become the women’s sprint victor. 


“When we ski for the first time in the Raduga Cluster it feels like the best of Europe,” she said. “The course is so wide and well-prepared. I would say everything is ideal.”


The schedule, statistics and results are available on the official website of the Winter Universiade 2019


Among all the test events held so far, the Cross-Country Skiing Russian Cup 1st stage is the largest in scale, in terms of the number of participants, as almost 300 skiers registered for the participation.


During the Winter Universiade 2019, the Raduga Cluster complex will be used for the preparation for cross-country skiing and ski orienteering competitions, as well as an area for the placement of jury equipment, technical materials, briefings for judges, participants, volunteers and team representatives.