RUKA, FINLAND >> Shaftsbury's Andy Newell began the 2015-16 cross-country World Cup ski season on a high note on Friday, taking a fourth-place finish in the opening day of the FIS Ruka Triple in Finland.
The placement was Newell's best in World Cup competition since 2013.
Newell snuck through to qualify in the quarterfinal run, finishing fourth in the first heat, but his time of 2 minutes, 35.94 seconds was fast enough to move on as the lucky loser. In the semifinal, Newell moved up a place to third in the heat, finishing the 1.4-kilometer race in 2:36.18 — the third best overall as well.
In the final, Newell had his best race in terms of time, completing the course in 2 minutes, 35.83 seconds — but he ended up just off the podium in fourth behind a trio of Norwegians. The race winner was Sondre Turvoll Fossli, finishing in 2:33.07, just over a second better than Eirik Brandsdal in the runner-up spot. 2010 Olympic medal winner Petter Northug Jr. was third, 1.65 seconds behind Fossli.
A pair of Swedes, Teodor Peterson and Emil Joensson, were the final two competitors in the final heat.
There are two more events during the mini-tour weekend, including a 10K freestyle and 15K Classic pursuit, and those events will be streamed live at NBC Sports Live Extra.