The men’s final strategically played out similarly to the women’s, but not with the names that one might have expected. It would have been a safe bet to say Emil Joensson was going to out sprint the field with his powerful stride over the final meters.
Yet, it was Canadian Lenny Valjas that pushed the pace early bringing with him Norway’s Erik Brandsdal and Paal Golberg.
The three broke away midway through and gapped the others. Then as they entered the finish lanes it was Brandsdal whose snappy striding gave him the victory in front of the passionate Drammen fans. Canada still had much to celebrate as Valjas used his own long striding form climbing to the finish, for a career best second place.
American Andy Newell capped off a strong day on a course where he has seen success in the past. He finished up in sixth place.
1) Eirik Brandsdal (NOR)
2) Lenny Valjas (CAN)
3) Paal Golberg (NOR)
4) Alexander Panshinskiy (RUS)
5) Emil Joensson (SWE)
6) Andy Newell (USA)
7) Simeon Hamilton (USA)
8 ) Nikolay Morilov (RUS)
9) Teodor Peterson (SWE)
10) Gleb Retivykh (RUS)
The Norwegian pair of Eirik Brandsal and Paal Golberg set the pace early with the Swedish duo of Emil Joensson and Teodor Peterson drafted right behind. About halfway through the course, though, Russian Alexander Panzhinskiy made a hard move to the front. As they entered the final uphill climb to the finish it was a drag race to the line. Brandsdal (NOR) led the way and Joensson (SWE) used his powerful and quick stride to move into second.
From the opening gun it was Lenny Valjas (CAN) and Kent Ove Clausen (NOR) who set the pace as American’s Simi Hamilton and Andy Newell changed track right away to settle in. Staying comfortable drafting throughout much of the early meters it was not until the courses short steep climb that Newell and Hamilton tried to move forward. By the end Valjas used his long stride to keep at the front and Newell’s powerful double pole took him comfortably into second. Hamilton kept pushing finishing third, but was not able to advance as a lucky loser as both of those positions were from the first heat.
Erik Brandsdal (NOR) showed early form that he was in good shape today, besting the rest of the field by over two seconds in the first heat. Russia’s Alexander Panzhinskiy was the next best in second over two seconds faster than Anssi Pentsinen (FIN).
Norway’s Paal Golberg kept the home crowd happy as he was best to the line crossing with the same time as Germany’s Josef Wenzl. Teodor Peterson (SWE) was third across, fast enough to gain a lucky loser position in the semifinals.
Emil Joensson (SWE) controlled the heat for the first two-thirds of the race. Then Yuichi Onda (JPN) took control as they worked through the bends before entering the stadium. As they entered the stadium Len Valjas (CAN) moved to the front and Emil Joensson (SWE) and he used strong diagonal stride up the final grade to the finish to both advance.
Andy Newell (USA) controlled much of the heat including, he positioned himself decisively at the front as they worked through the left and then right turn before the final homestretch. He strided well and seemed to have good skis. As they approached the final pitch Nikolay Morilov (RUS) just slipped past Newell as Newell seemed to struggle just a bit over the final few meters.
Alex Harvey (CAN) crashed midway through the course on a gradual down just before a right turn. He skied admirably to regain contact finishing fourth in the heat.
Again the American squad had good skis as Simi Hamilton (USA) battled at the front with Norway’s Kent Ove Clausen. The two took the lead into the homestretch where Clausen gained an edge and Hamilton battled with Nikita Kriukov (RUS), just getting the better of the Russian.
Canada’s Devon Kershaw also had some bad luck as he broke a pole early in the heat.