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.
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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.
January 28, 2011 at 1:05 am
I demand an alsgaard/justin freeman showdown.
January 28, 2011 at 2:29 am
It’s not like Alsgaard been sitting on the couch playing video games all the time since retirement. Being a member of Team Fast last season he was skiing at high levels in Worldloppet races like the Vasaloppet which are pretty much double-pole_athons. I don’t see any of the Auklund brothers on the results. I think they could’ve done well. One thing this article doesn’t mention is that Lars Flora the lone American got a start. He finished 64th. There’s no way Alsgaard will be able to double pole his way around the Holmenkollen course like this at Worlds in a couple of weeks.
January 28, 2011 at 4:20 am
Algaards podium finish has caused a debate in Norway, with good reason. Sure, Alsgaard is still training seriously for the marathons. And sure, the course was perfect for him as he’s been focusing a lot on double poling this season. But any way you look at it, it’s a harsh reminder that everyone behind the top 3-4 guys in Norway are far behind world class atm. The result would’ve showed that even without Alsgaard starting, as there was a wide gap between Rønning, Johnsen Sundby and the rest. But Alsgaards bronze certainly made the message cristal clear.
January 28, 2011 at 8:15 am
On a side note, the situation is very different when it comes to Norwegian sprinters. Øystein Pettersen was knocked out in the quarter finals in the nationals, which leaves him in trouble when it comes to making the World Champs team. John Kristian Dahl also went out in the quarter finale, even if Ola Viggen Hattestad and Petter Northug aren’t competing today.
January 28, 2011 at 11:20 am
Much ado about nothing. The correct people didn’t show and that’s how Alsgaard managed to get on the podium. He hasn’t had any good results lately.
January 28, 2011 at 7:14 pm
This is horrible the guy retired almost a decade ago, and as he said he does not wanna compete in the world championship as he does not think he would be competitive.
January 28, 2011 at 7:20 pm
Good results or not as of late the guy is still talented and an Olympic Champion … probably could SMOKE anyone on this site on ONE LEG…