Russians swept the U23 15k freestyle with Denis Spitsov (left) taking the bronze, Alexander Bolshunov (center) winning the gold, and Alexey Chervotkin silver at the USANA FIS U23 Cross Country World Championships. (U.S. Ski Team-Tom Kelly)
SOLDIER HOLLOW, UT (Feb. 2, 2017) - For the second-straight day, Russia came away with a podium sweep - this time in the men’s 15k freestyle at the USANA FIS U23 Cross Country World Championships. Alexander Bolshunov took gold with a 21.8 second margin over teammate Alexey Chervotkin, who took silver. Bronze went to Denis Spitsov.
Alexander Bolshunov skis to gold in the USANA FIS U23 Cross Country World Championships men's 15k freestyle. (U.S. Ski Team-Tom Kelly)
Running last in the field for the interval start race, Cervotkin provided drama in the final stage of the race, crossing the line to take silver and bumping Andorra’s Irneu Esteve Altimiras into fourth, completing the podium sweep.
The Russian U23 team had been motivated by the similar podium sweep by the Junior Worlds team from Russia a day earlier in the 10k freestyle.
The gold was Bolshunov’s second medal of the U23 Championships, having won silver in the classic sprint two days ago.
American Paddy Caldwell skis to a strong ninth in the USANA FIS U23 Cross Country World Championships men's 15k freestyle. (U.S. Ski Team-Tom Kelly)
The USA was led by Paddy Caldwell (Lyme Center, NH) of Stratton Mountain School, who was ninth. He had been 21st and 15th in the same event the last two years at U23 World Championships.
On Friday the juniors will race a skiathlon - combination of classical and freestyle techniques - with U23 athletes competing in skiathlon Saturday.
Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov took gold for his second medal of the U23 World Championships.
Bolshunov led a Russian sweep with Alexey Chervotkin taking silver and Denis Spitsov bronze.
The U23 Championships move on to skiathlon Saturday.
USA ATHLETES 9 - Paddy Caldwell 22 - Adam Martin 24 - John Hegman 37 - Callan Deline
QUOTES Alexander Bolshunov [On the second Russian sweep] For us, there is only one chance to repeat the same, as we did today.
[Course conditions] I did not know which pair of skis I should take, but I made the right choice, my skis were the best.
[On competing at the 2002 Olympic venue] It’s very, very cool, I couldn’t explain my emotions now, its really cool.
Paddy Caldwell Going into the race we knew that the conditions were fast. My strategy for the day was to pin it from the start and hold on. It was a really tight race and I definitely paid for my first lap but I am happy to have put it all out there.
I was really excited to be in the mix with the top guys today. U23s have been my focus all year and I am psyched to have improved on my results from past U23 and World Junior races.
Racing here in the USA with all the other teams has been unreal. It is really cool to race on the Olympic courses and get a feel for what the races must have been like in 2002 - that's one burly 5km!