Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset from Norway took the victory in the traditional individual start races in classic technique over 50 km at the Holmenkollen (NOR).
Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) finished 21st in the sunny, 45-degree weather. Brian McKeever of Canada finished 40th. They were the only two North Americans racing.
The 35-year-old Hjelmeset won this traditional World Cup race for the first time just 9.8 seconds ahead of the overall World Cup winner Tobias Angerer (GER). Third place was Hjelmeset’s team mate Frode Estil (NOR, +31.8 seconds). Hjelmeset started only 30 seconds behind Estil in the individual start race, and overtook him after the first few kilometers. The two Norwegian were skiing nearly the whole race together and could help each other.
Hjelmeset has been on quite a roll recently. He also won the 50km mass start race at the World Championships in Sapporo, and today was his second victory in one week after the success in Lahti over the 15km in classical style. The 34-year-old Estil managed third place, the second podium in his last season of his career.
The overall World Cup is already won by Tobias Angerer. He is in the lead with 1031 points. Second place is still Alexander Legkov (RUS, 573), who didn’t compete today because he was ill. On third place follows Eldar Roenning, just 19 points behind Legkov.
Tobias Angerer, with his second place today, also won the distance World Cup with a total of 492 points. Second place is Frenchman Vincent Vittoz, wo didn’t compete in today’s race, with 370 points. Third place is now Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset with 334 points.
Weather: sunny, +5Â°C
Snow Conditions: Spring conditions
Courses men: Height Differences (HD): 126m; Maximum Climb (MC): 79, Total Climb (TC): 1776m; Length of Lap: 16.7 km
Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset (NOR): â€œIt was an amazing race today. It is great to win here in front of the audience from Holmenkollen. At the end of my race I was really tired but Frode (Estil) helped me a lot and so I could manage the victory. Thanks to Frode — I think without his help Tobias would be the winner. But I must also say that Tobias (Angerer) is a great skier, he compete in nearly all races this season and was from the beginning to the end in a fabulous shape.â€
Tobias Angerer (GER): â€It was a perfect race for me. In the first part my skis were a little bit slippery but than I change the skis and that was good. I felt good during the race but at the end I had not enough power to push harder and maybe win the race. It is amazing to ski on this course with this great audience. I’m happy that I could defend my overall World Cup and also the distance World Cup.â€
Frode Estil (NOR): â€œTo finish on a podium place in my last 50 km that is great. The race was hard but I could skied together with Odd-Bjoern (Hjelmeset) and that helped me a lot. We understand each other without any words. When I realized that Odd-Bjoern is fighting for the victory I try to help me and pushed as much as I could. Now I maybe should teach Odd-Bjoern in skating that he will be prepared for the 50km in free technique in Liberec 2009. Next weekend, in my last World Cup race, I will give my best. The track in Falun fits me well.â€
For complete results http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/610.html?sector=CC&raceid=11890