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Tour de Ski this weekend

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Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 11:03 pm | Updated: 12:09 pm, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS—Weather permitting, the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks will open the state’s Nordic ski season with the three-day Goldstream Sports Tour de Ski/Fairbanks Friday through Sunday at Birch Hill Recreation Area.

If the weather is warmer than 4 below, all three days of racing will be U.S. Ski Association National Ranking List and International Ski Federation calendar events.

The races provide opportunities for Alaska skiers to earn USSA and FIS points to improve their seeding at USSA Senior National Championships in Soldier Hollow, Utah, at USSA Junior Olympics in Fairbanks, at the Besh Cup series in Alaska, and in other national and international events.

The three-day format copies the structure of a multi-stage cycling race, with the overall champion based on the combined time for the three stages, including time bonuses awarded for high finishes and mid-race premes.

The Tour de Ski/Fairbanks begins at 5 p.m. Friday with a prologue under the lights at Birch Hill. The classic technique event will feature 15-second interval starts with the women going 2 kilometers and men skiing 3K.

Time bonuses of 30, 20 and 10 seconds will be awarded to the first three skiers in the overall standings for men and women.

Saturday’s race will be the first race in the 17th annual Flint Hills Town Race Series. The Fairbanks Youth Sports Season Opener is a mass start, classic technique race with women skiing a 5K course and men racing 7.5K.

All of the local high school teams will be in attendance. Skiers from Colony, Palmer and Wasilla are expected to attend along with the top junior and senior skiers from Anchorage.

Start positions for Saturday’s race will be based on Friday’s finish, with the highest-ranking skiers getting the best start positions.

Sunday’s finale will be a two-lap, 10K pursuit start free technique event for both men and women.

The two-day leader will start first. The second skier and all subsequent skiers will start however many seconds they are behind the leader. Thus the first skier across the finish line will win the Tour.

This weekend’s races also serve as the Alaska Nordic Cup, the annual competition between the Alaska Nanooks and the UAA Seawolves. The Nanooks vs. Seawolves competition will be based on “raw” times with no bonuses allowed.

For more information on the Tour de Ski, contact chief of competition John Estle, at sportalaska@gci.net.

Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7581.

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