LIBEREC, Cze.—Canada’s Chandra Crawford and Daria Gaizaova teamed up to finish in fifth spot in a cross-country classic-ski team sprint relay at a World Cup in Liberec, Czech Republic on Sunday. Feeding off the theme song of “Lay it on the Line” by Triumph, the Canadian duo who joined forces to win a bronze medal earlier this year in the same race format in Dusseldorf, Germany, were back in podium contention. With this week’s team shortened to a one-heat bomb, the 27-year-old Canucks finished with a time of 20 minutes 22.4 seconds.
“It was a little different in that we just had the one heat today, but was really fun to go and hammer it out and fight for position,” said Gaiazova. “We need to give mad props to our wax techs. Our skis were excellent and worked like a dream.”
Gaiazova, of Banff, Alta., took a lead role in taking on the world’s best in Liberec, handing off to Crawford, of Canmore, Alta., after bolting the Canadians into podium position nearly every time she took the hand off for each of her three laps around the 1.3-kilometre track. Athletes tag off to their teammate following each lap. “Daria gets all the credit today. It was awesome to have a teammate handing off to me in strong position,” said Crawford, who added that focusing on the classic-skiing discipline over the last four years in preparation for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games sprint event has paid off, making her stronger in the race discipline. “Devon’s (Kershaw) success lately has been really good for the whole team and we are all feeding off it. It was an exciting race today.”
Norway’s Marit Bjoergen and Maiken Caspersen finished on top with a time of 19:30.8.Italy’s Marianna Longa and Magda Genuin were second with a time of 20:01.3. Another Norwegian team made up of Celine Brun-Lie and Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes rounded out the podium in third at 20:14.4. Canada did not have a men’s team entered in the race.