Daniel Richardsson of Sweden carefully paced himself throughout the grueling 50 kilometers to win in Saturday’s classic mass start World Cup at Holmenkollen in Oslo, Norway.
The race started fast, with skiers hungry for the bonus points at the end of each loop. Five skiers broke off the main pack early on: Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway, Alexander Legkov of Russia, Finland’s Livo Niskanen, Sweden’s Richardsson, and Lukas Bauer of the Czech Republic.
After the second lap all of the leading skiers pulled into the ski exchange except for Bauer, who looked to make a breakaway on the other four men. Bauer gained a twenty-second advantage by opting not to change skis. Sundby and Legkov led the chase, and by the time they reached the 22 k mark they had caught Bauer.
Sundby did the majority of the work at the front of the race, cheered on by the raucous crowd at Holmenkollen. 33 k into the race Sundby took the lead pack into the exchange for the second change of skis. Legkov, Richardsson, and Niskanen followed close behind him. Bauer had been dropped by over 30 seconds.
Shortly after the exchange it was Niskanen who was unable to stay with the pace, and by 36 k he was 18 seconds behind Sundby in the lead.
With three men left in contention for the race, it was Sundby and Legkov who traded leads, with Richardsson skiing behind the two. At 47 k Sundby made an attack up a climb. Richardsson managed to stay with the Norwegian, but Legkov lost contact by a couple of seconds. The Russian fought to catch up and nearly did, but soon fell back again.
Sundby led over the last hill, and as soon as the Holmenkollen stadium came into view with 800 meters left, Richardsson took off with a burst of speed that an exhausted Sundby couldn’t match.
Richardsson carried his lead into the finish line to win with a time of 2:07:29. Sundby was second, a result that was good enough to secure him the overall World Cup title this season, and Legkov was third.
1. Daniel Richardsson (SWE) 2:07:29.5
2. Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR) +8.2
3. Alexander Legkov (RUS) +14.5
4. Livo Niskanen (FIN)+1:22.3
5. Lars Nelson (SWE) +1:55.3
North American Results:
14. Alex Harvey
29. Noah Hoffman
51. Erik Bjornsen
54. Simi Hamilton
56. Reese Hanneman