Holund won the 50K in Seefeld

Holund 50K cross country skiing seefeldHans Christer Holund during cross-country 50K (mass start, freestyle, men) at the skiing World Championship in Seefeld. Photo: Fredrik Hagen / NTB scanpix

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Holund wins the 50K cross country freestyle event in Seefeld

Hans Christer Holund left the competition behind after 21 kilometres. He skated into the World Championship gold medal on the 50K mass start in Seefeld, in front of Aleksandr Bolshunov and Sjur Røthe. The 30-years-old was threatened by Bolshunov towards the end, but the Russian was thoroughly tired as well. The final distance between them was 27.8 seconds.

 


Exactly half a minute behind Bolshunov, Røthe came into third place, after sprinting down Martin Johnsrud Sundby. Norway’s last man on the 50K, Simen Hegstad Krüger, secured fifth place.

“What to say? I have learned that you must dare to try. You must dare to think about becoming a World Champion. In light of what Sjur and Martin have done here earlier, you start to believe that it is possible. Today I just gave it a shot, and that held until the finish,” a touched Holund tells NRK.

First World Championships medal

The event is only his second World Championships start of his career. Last year, he won the Olympic bronze medal in the 30K skiathlon. Sunday’s gold medal is, therefore, his second international medal as a senior.

“I’ve gone from being a good junior to a poor senior and now finally, a good senior,” Holund smiles.

National Team Coach of Norway, Eirik Myhr Nossum, is very impressed by Holund, but even more so by the Norwegian team effort.

“It is amazing. It is a team victory. They follow the tactics to the letter, even if Bolshunov gets a small respite when we swap skis. «HC» joins the team and does it his way, and that is very gratifying,” Nossum explains to NRK.

Giant gap

The Lyn athlete from Nittedal spent more than half the event in solitude under the winter sun of Seefeld. In the main field, Aleksandr Bolshunov and the other Russians, desperately tried to close the gap, while the teammates of Holund: Krüger, Røthe and Sundby helped to brace the pace.

The field was compact until Holund decided to attempt to break away after 21 kilometres. He quickly gained a gap of many seconds:

After 22.2 kilometres, he obtained a 12.7-second lead. After 24.9 kilometres, the gap increased to 22.9 seconds. Holund had 80 seconds to play with at one point.

Bolsjunov leading the hunt

About 15 kilometres before the finish, the Russians finally realised that they were not going to get any help to reel Holund in. They, therefore, stepped up their pace in earnest.

Bolshunov was the most eager of them. He reduced the gap with 16.7 seconds on the Norwegian leader in 3.3 kilometres. Behind him followed in order: Denis Spitsov, Yevgeny Belov and Andrei Melnitsjenko. They, however, could not maintain the pace of their teammate for long.

After 41.5 kilometres, Bolshunov had gained another eight seconds. The Russian continued to gobble down seconds, but never managed to regain contact with Holund. The attempt secured him the World Championship silver medal, regardless.

Final medal overview (cross country and ski jumping)

Nation

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

Norway

13

5

7

25

Germany

6

3

0

9

Sweden

2

2

1

5

Poland

1

1

0

2

Austria

0

4

5

9

Russia

0

5

3

8

Italiy

0

1

1

2

Slovenia

0

1

0

1

Japan

0

0

2

2

Finland

0

0

1

1

Switzerland

0

0

1

1

France

0

0

1

1

USA

0

0

0

0


© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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