The 15K classic course in Steinkjer features a lot of double-pole terrain and relatively gentle climbs. The former Olympian and World Champion Thomas Alsgaard used the course profile to his advantage. Although the veteran is pushing 40 and retired almost ten years ago, he delivered a performance that earned him the bronze medal at the Norwegian nationals.
“I have all kinds of respect and I am super impressed with the performance Thomas delivered today,” Martin Sundby Johnsrud said to Norwegian television NRK after the race.
“Thomas skied an incredibly solid race,” said Johnsrud, who skied into silver on the same course.
Gold medalist Eldar Rønning was also impressed with veteran Alsgaard. “I was a little surprised, but Thomas is a strong skier and this course seemed to suit him well,” Rønning said to NRK.
National team director Åge Skinstad was asked if this shows signs of weakness in the Norwegian national team when only two national team racers beat the retired veteran. “This was a very strong performance from Thomas, he delivered an incredible race. I had not believed he would race into third place,” Skinstad said to NRK.
From Langrenn.com, January 27, 2011 – By Geir Nilsen, translation by Inge Scheve.
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.