Merino Muster

Team USA Still Dominating Also At The Merino Muster

Cross country skiers aged between 7 and 85 competed under bluebird skiers at Snow Farm near Wanaka today in the 22nd annual Merino Muster Worldloppet race. The victory in the 3rd Worldloppet event of the season is going to Team USA which took the top two places in both the women’s and men’s 42km race with 2013 Team Sprint World Champion Jessie Diggins edging fellow Winter Olympian Liz Stephen after teammates Noah Hoffman and Simi Hamilton finished one-two in the men’s event.

 Jessie Diggins stated the race worked really well with the team’s training camp at Snow Farm:

 “The course was perfectly groomed, clearly marked and the aid stations had tonnes of lollies and hot drinks. Liz and I skied together the whole way, it was such fun and an awesome intensity session,” she said.

 The men’s second place, Simi Hamilton is sure, he would return after skiing the Merino Muster this year for the first time:

“It’s a beautiful spring day, the snow is super-fast and the energy and atmosphere were just great. We had a bunch of people cheering us on as we went by and all the volunteers were doing a great job at the feed stations. We always feel welcome down here so we’re looking forward to coming back and doing it some more in the future.”

Wanaka locals Rachel Knott, originally from USA, and Snow Farm’s Swedish sport manager, Henrik Forsberg took the final podium places followed by 98 more age group skiers and Worldloppet Masters many of whom had travelled to New Zealand from all over the world – from Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Israel, Argentina and Japan – especially for the race. First Kiwis home were Ben Falconer, tenth overall and winner of his under-40 age group, and Ann Smaill who won her under-60 age group and finished seventh overall in the women’s race.

Also the race committee is satisfied and counts this year’s Merino Muster a success again. Mary Lee said this year’s event had been a huge success:

“There’s always a wonderful atmosphere at the Merino Muster and the weather certainly played its part today. The sun shone, the racing was superb and everyone can be proud of their performance,” said Mary Lee, from the OC.

 The highlights of Merino Muster 2016 will be shown tomorrow 8:00pm CET on www.worldloppet.com on Worldloppet-TV.

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