FIS Nordic World Championships (Lahti, Finland): Men’s 15 k classic
After narrowly missing the victory in Sunday’s classic team sprint, Finland’s Iivo Niskanen got his gold, winning Wednesday’s men’s 15-kilometer individual classic start race at the 2017 Nordic World Ski Championships on Wednesday in Lahti, Finland. Niskanen covered the course in a time of 36:44.0, besting Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby by 17.9 seconds.
Starting in bib 64, Niskanen didn’t take long to ski in the top spot, posting the fastest time from the 4.7 k mark until he finished. He held off Sundby, as well as Norwegian Niklas Dyrhaug, who started a minute behind Niskanen in bib 66 and ultimately finished in third (+31.3).
Missing the podium by 10.5 seconds was Russia’s Alexander Bessmertnykh in fourth, 41.8 seconds behind Niskanen’s winning time. Placing fifth (+53.2) was Didrik Tønseth of Norway. Russia’s Andrey Larkov took sixth (+53.2), while kazakhstan’s Alexey Poltoranin placed seventh (+1:06.3). The second Finn to finish in the top ten was Sami Jauhojaervi in eighth (+1:09.7). Ninth (+1:10.6) went to the former 2015 World Champion, Johan Olsson of Sweden, and his Swedish teammate, Calle Halfvarsson rounded out the top ten in tenth (+1:15.0).
Erik Bjornsen led the U.S. men, placing 18th (+1:56.7) after starting in bib 26. The second American to finish was Kyle Bratrud in 33rd (+3:11.5) followed by Andy Newell in 50th (+4:21.7) and Ben Lustgarten in 55th (+4:56.9).
Devon Kershaw led the Canadians, placing 35th (+3:24.8). Knute Johnsgaard was the next Canadian, finishing 56th (+5:00.7), followed by Jesse Cockney in 65th (+6:20.7).
The women’s 4 x 5 k relay takes place Thursday. The U.S. is slated to start (in no particular order): Jessie Diggins, Kikkan Randall, Liz Stephen, and Sadie Bjornsen.
FIS Nordic World Championships (Lahti, Finland): Nordic Combined large hill/10 k
Germany’s Johannes Rydzek racked up win #3 in as many nordic-combined competitions at the 2017 Nordic World Championships in Lahti, Finland, winning the individual large hill/10-kilometer Gundersen start on Wednesday.
The last individual competition of the championships began with Austria’s Mario Seidl jumping the farthest at 132.0 meters and earning 137.3 points. His Austrian teammate, Wilhelm Denifl finished second in the jumping portion, earning 125.7 points. Japan’s Akito Watabe was third for the jumping, with 123.8 points.
Competitors returned later in the day for the 10 k cross-country portion, with Rydzek racing to first after starting a minute back in fifth. Rydzek won the 10 k event in a time of 26:41.6. Just 4.8 seconds later, Watabe captured silver after starting 54 seconds back. The bronze medal went to France’s François Braud, who also started 54 seconds back and finished 13 seconds off Rydzek’s time.
Four U.S. Nordic Combined Team skiers contested the event. Bryan Fletcher led the Americans finishing 31st (+3:58.3), after jumping to 31st and starting 2:39 back. His brother, Taylor Fletcher was the second American to finish the cross-country portion, racing to 36th (+4:55.6) after jumping to 51st and starting 4:26 back.
Ben Berend jumped the farthest for the Americans in 21st, and raced to 40th (+5:08.6) after starting 1:55 back.
The 21-year-old explained during an interview with FasterSkier that he sees his recent success in jumping as a result of not overthinking his efforts on the hill.
“Basically, I’ve just turned my mind off,” Berend said. “I didn’t take training yesterday, I’ve just been kind of not jumping as much as I usually do, and like when I’m at home I’m not thinking about ski jumping, I just kind of go up and do it and it’s working right now, and so I’m not going to change any of that. I’m just having fun, it’s been a blast.”
Adam Loomis finished the day in 44th (+5:47.9) after jumping to 45th and starting 3:29 back.
Canada’s Nathaniel Mah jumped to 52nd and finished the day in 52nd.