The 2007 Capitol Square Sprints peaked with an afternoon of fierce competition on Sunday, as the third annual cross-country skiing extravaganza drew near its conclusion. For spectators, the most impressive races may have come during the semi-finals and finals of the elite SuperTour races. Modeled on a spectator-friendly World Cup course at Dusseldorf, Germany, the loop afforded splendid views of the drama.
Onlookers who positioned themselves at the corner of Main and Carroll streets could enjoy the entirety of each race, with the exception of a couple of brief blind spots --and the announcer's excited call of each race rendered those blind spots all but visible.
Even if you weren't cheering on your personal favorites, being able to stand so close to elite Nordic skiers was a rare opportunity marvel at first-hand views of exceptional cross-country skiing technique and strategy.
After a round of women's and men's semi-final heats, the excitement built into the women's championship race, shown here in this first clip, with Karin Camenisch, Caitlin Compton, Nicole De Yong and Laura Valaas challenging each other on a course that appeared to be as technically demanding as it was spectator-friendly.
Northern Michigan University Nordic ski team member Ben Cline came home to Madison this weekend to compete in the Men's SuperTour event. Though he did not advance to the men's A final, Cline did advance to the men's B final and had the home crowd on his side during that race, as indicated in this footage of Cline's effort amidst a field that also included Mark Iverson, Colin Mahood and Santi Ocariz.
The elite competition reached its climax during the men's SuperTour A final -- a thrilling blend of exhilaration, speed and technical prowess, on full display in this final clip featuring Bryan Cook, Kevin Hochtl, Colin Rodgers and Eric Strabel in the race for the championship.
Photo galleries depicting races on all three days of the spints are available from Competitive Image sports photographers. Complete race results, including the weekend's high school, citizen's and masters competitions, are published online by the Capitol Square Sprints.