Nordic

Randall Top US Finisher at Holmenkollen

by
Tom Kelly
2017-03-12 13:48
 

OSLO, Norway (Mar. 12, 2017) - Thousands packed the trails high above Oslo for long distance cross country ski racing this weekend at the Holmenkollen Ski Festival. Norway’s Martin Sundby took the win for the men in Saturday’s 50k classic mass start with Marit Bjoergen of Norway taking Sunday’s 30k women’s title.

Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) led the USA in 20th with Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) 24th. In Saturday’s 50k, Scott Patterson (Anchorage) of APU Nordic was in the points at 28th.

Weather overnight before the women’s race made for potentially challenging conditions.

“Despite the fog coming back in last night and some fresh snow during the night, the skiing was pretty nice today - good klister conditions,” said Randall. “I had strong kick through the whole race and really good speed in the first half. My skis were working well through the race so I opted not to switch.”

As a late season long distance race, the Holmenkollen Ski Festival is always a grueling but prestigious race.

“It was your usual tough race out there at Holmenkollen,” said Bjornsen. “I consider this as the hardest race of the year, but also the most honorable race to finish. Simply making it through 30 kilometers of this tough course is something to be proud of. I have had some really great races here, and some super challenging ones as well. Today fell more towards the challenging one.”

Bjoergen pushed a fast pace right from the beginning with a fast first five kilometers. Randall ended up further back than she wanted in the early stages but settled in with a pack around 30th place on the first long lap, skiing with that pack and starting to move up around the halfway mark.

“Finishing 20th today achieved my goal and I’m satisfied with the effort I had today,” said Randall. “My energy was really steady the whole race. I’m still missing my powerful start gear so that will be something to work on before next season. Classic has been a little rusty for me this season so to have a solid one today is a good step in the right direction!”

Bjornsen had challenges in the race but was found some a silver lining. 

“I had a great start, and started to struggle a bit midway through the race,” she said. “I was struggling to make my skis work, and should have made the exchange with skis at 15k, but I missed it, and then wanted to stay with the group I was skiing with at 21k. So, again, failed to switch skis. I think that was unfortunately the big mistake of the day, but I had some silver lining in that race. Another result that the number isn't where I want, but there are some good feelings and hope for next weekend to wrap up this season.”

For Patterson, it was a big step forward with vital steppingstone results.

“As a first time in the points in Europe I am quite satisfied,” he said. “However, I don't think I could be a competitive skier if I wasn’t looking for more. (Coach) Matt Whitcomb gave me some splits that I was around 45 seconds from the group up to top 20. I really wanted to get up to that group. Besides a few frustrations with tactics and a small crash on the last lap, it was quite a good race. Being in the points at Holmenkollen with a sunny day and thousands of fans only made it better. I'm looking forward to building on this result for the Quebec World Cup Finals.”

The team will get back together next weekend in Quebec City for World Cup Finals. For the World Cup team, it marks a return after a long trip to Europe. 

“After three and a half months on the road with the family, I’m really looking forward to heading back to North America this next week to compete in the World Cup Finals in Quebec City,” said Randall. “My shape is still strong and I’m looking forward to a few more skate races! The last time I raced in Quebec the atmosphere with the U.S. fans was amazing - I hope we see that again!”

Racing opens Friday in Quebec City with freestyle sprints. Saturday will be classic distance racing with freestyle distance pursuit to close out the season on Sunday.

QUOTES
Kikkan Randall
I like the course here at Holmenkollen. It’s pretty tough with lots of climbing but also fun descents and it’s nice to ski on longer loops! Despite the fog coming back in last night and some fresh snow during the night, the skiing was pretty nice today - good klister conditions. I had strong kick through the whole race and really good speed in the first half. My skis were working well through the race so I opted not to switch.

The 30k was an untested event for me this season so I was aiming for a top 20. I wanted to try and put myself in a good pack early in the race and try and stay near or in the top 20. 

Marit (Bjoergen) pushed the pace right from the beginning so the first 5k was really fast. I ended up a little further back than I wanted but got into a good pack right around 30th going into the first long lap. I skied with that pack and we worked together well. After about 15k we started catching people so I was able to move up.

Finishing 20th today achieved my goal and I’m satisfied with the effort I had today. My energy was really steady the whole race. I’m still missing my powerful start gear so that will be something to work on before next season. Classic has been a little rusty for me this season so to have a solid one today is a good step in the right direction!

After three and a half months on the road with the family, I’m really looking forward to heading back to North America this next week to compete in the World Cup Finals in Quebec City. My shape is still strong and I’m looking forward to a few more skate races! The last time I raced in Quebec the atmosphere with the U.S. fans was amazing - I hope we see that again! And then home to Alaska in less than two weeks, I am ready to see home!

Sadie Bjornsen
It was your usual tough race out there at Holmenkollen. I consider this as the hardest race of the year, but also the most honorable race to finish in the year. Simply making it through 30 kilometers of this tough course is something to be proud of. I have had some really great races here, and some super challenging ones as well. Today fell more towards the challenging one. 

I had a great start, and started to struggle a bit midway through the race. I was struggling to make my skis work, and should have made the exchange with skis at 15k, but I missed it, and then wanted to stay with the group I was skiing with at 21k. So, again, failed to switch skis. I think that was unfortunately the big mistake of the day, but I had some silver lining in that race. Another result that the number isn't where I want, but there are some good feelings and hope for next weekend to wrap up this season. Between now and then I will do a lot of resting and recovering to find my strong power by Friday. Thanks to all the techs and staff today!

Scott Patterson
As a first time in the points in Europe, I am quite satisfied. However, I don't think I could be a competitive skier if I wasn’t looking for more. (Coach) Matt Whitcomb gave me some splits that I was around 45 seconds from the group up to top 20. I really wanted to get up to that group. 

Besides a few frustrations with tactics and a small crash on the last lap, it was quite a good race. Being in the points at Holmenkollen with a sunny day and thousands of fans only made it better. I'm looking forward to building on this result for the Quebec World Cup finals. 

RESULTS
Men’s 50k classic mass start - March 11  
Women’s 30k classic mass start - March 12