After Petr Sedov’s domination of the junior 20k pursuit here yesterday, it seemed unlikely that anyone would be able to outdo in the 30k U-23 version today.
Enter Romanian Paul-Constantin Pepin.
On the second of four 3.75k skate loops, he put in a hard acceleration on the course’s big climb, breaking away despite the best efforts of Andreas Katz (GER) and Tad Elliot to match the move.
For the next two laps, he used a quirky skate technique to build up a big lead, entering the stadium with enough time for a lengthy victory celebration. He seemed barely out of breath at the finish.
Norway’s Ole Marius Bach and Katz followed in second and third-far back. Those two beat a Japanese skier-that country’s fourth fourth-place finish here.
Elliot looked very good on course-he managed to stay with the lead pack for the entire classic leg, which is normally his weaker technique. When Pepin made his move on the hill, he joined Katz in trying to reel him in. But Elliot told FasterSkier that that move may have been too much for him-by the end of the race, he had faded to 21st.
The Canadian men ended their week here with a bang, as Frederic Touchette and Graeme Killick were sixth and seventh, respectively.
Noah Hoffman was the only other American finisher in 34th. Peter Kling and Reese Hanneman-the two other American starters-battled hard to stay ahead of Pepin on their seventh of eight laps. It appeared that they had succeeded, as they still had a 30-second gap on him coming into the stadium, but officials pulled the racers anyway.