Kassel captures gold again at world champs

Prince George nurse wins 30km freestyle at Masters World Cup in Norway

Nikki Kassel saved her best race for last at the Masters World Cup cross-country championships.
Already a frequent flier to the medal podium in Beitstolen, Norway, having won a gold medal and two silver at the week-long event, Kassel put together another near-perfect race Thursday when she won the women's 30-kilometre freestyle race.
"The race I was really focusing on was today - the long-distance 30k skate," said Kassel, in a text message to The Citizen. "I had a fantastic race, winning my (women's 45-49 year) category by 10 minutes and having the fastest overall women's time.
"I'm so thankful to Scott Forrest for feeding me Coke every lap and my mom (Carolyn) handing me gels. It was super-deep snow for skating because we had a ton of fresh snow here in Beitstolen but I had fast skis and I was hungry today."
Kassel finished the 30km course in 1:29:15.7.
The 45-year-old nurse began the championships with a gold-medal performance in the 15km freestyle and also won silver in the 10 km classic technique race. She finished in 26:43, 49 seconds behind gold-medalist Sandra Wagenfuhr of Switzerland.
In the team relay classic event on Tuesday, Kassel and fellow Canadians Coralie Beauchamp, Jillian Flower and Annie Chenard won silver in the women's 35-39 year age class race.
In other Prince George results from Beitstolen, 62-year-old Scott Forrest raced to a 17th-place finish in the men's 60-64-year 30 km classic technique race on Wednesday. Forrest completed the course in 1:53.54.4. Olivo Antonlacomi of Italy won gold in 1:36:21.5.
Forrest posted a 24th-place result out of 49 in Sunday's 10km classic event. He finished in 31:37, 5:07 off the winning pace of Gianpaolo Englaro of Italy. On Tuesday, Forrest teamed up with Ed Delaplante, Mike Huet and Stuart Hamilton to help Canada finish ninth in the men's classic relay. Forrest began the world championships Friday placing 35th placing in the 15km classic technique race.
Nikki and Carolyn Kassel, Forrest and Barb Kane, all of Prince George, are entered in the Birkebeiner on Saturday, a 54km classic technique event from Rena to Lillehammer while carrying a 3.5-kilogram backpack. The traditional race is symbolic of a winter trip made in 1206 by Norwegian loyalists to save Hakon Hakkonsson, the one-year-old heir to the throne of Norway.


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