Beitostolen 10 k Classic: Golberg Dominates, Musgrave Podiums, Wonders and Ogden Top 20

John TeafordDecember 10, 2022

Norway in midwinter can take on the appearance of a snow globe: quaint little cabins covered in snow, drooping pines coated in layers of white, skiers trailing through the woods. That was the scene in Beitostolen, Norway for day two of the FIS Cross Country World Cup. Skiers awoke to withering cold with low temperatures creating squeaky snow on the race course. Waxing for kick would not be a problem, but enduring the cold for ten kilometers of classic ski racing was a daunting prospect, indeed. Buffs, heavy gloves or mittens, protective face tape: that was the fashion of the day inside the Beitostolen snow globe.

Paal Golberg (NOR) drives toward the finish in his World Cup 10 k Classic victory in Beitostolen, Norway. (Photo: NordicFocus)

While racing in such cold conditions would prove to be a challenge, Norwegian favorites Paal Golberg and Didrik Toenseth did not disappoint their loyal followers, finishing first and second on the day. Great Britain’s Andrew Musgrave—something of an adopted son for the Norwegian fans—also turned in a thrilling performance, finishing third.

North American skiers also celebrated great racing success today: Hunter Wonders was 16th, Ben Ogden, 19th, Gus Schumacher, 30th, Scott Patterson, 32nd, and Zak Ketterson, 38th. Canadians were led by an impressive finish from Antoine Cyr in 20th, followed by Olivier Leveille in 32nd, and Graham Ritchie, 40th.

Beitostolen 10 k Classic

While the Beitostolen facility lacks a notable ski stadium, this is where Team Norway spends a good portion of its training time. Only a few hours from Oslo, Beitostolen is where the most reliable snow in southern Norway can be found.

It’s especially difficult to earn high finishing places when racing in Norway: for this World Cup race in Beitostolen, the host nation was granted twelve starting positions, meaning that many non-Norwegian contenders were likely to be pushed even farther down the results. For Norwegians, themselves, just qualifying to enter a World Cup is a Herculean task. Even last week’s World Cup 10 k skate winner—Iver Tildheim Andersen (NOR)—was not granted a starting position in today’s 10 k classic event. With early-season World Cup favorite Johannes Hosfloet Klaebo (NOR) and classic skiing specialist Iivo Niskanen (FIN) both absent due to illness, Saturday’s Classic 10 k was marked as much by who is absent as by who is racing.

Andrew Musgrave (GBR) shows the effort of earning a place on the World Cup 10 k Classic podium. (Photo: NordicFocus)

Light snow began falling soon after the start. Pre-race favorite, Golberg, started 42nd with snow already beginning to accumulate lightly in the tracks. A lap into his race, Golberg found himself shadowed by the British veteran, Musgrave, who cagily slotted in behind Golberg, benefitting from both the draft and the effort of the skier ahead of him. Obviously, Golberg would’ve preferred to step in behind the later-starting, fresher Musgrave, even pointing out in post-race interviews that he was dreaded giving Musgrave an advantage. “[I was worried that I might] drag Musgrave to the victory,” Golberg said. “But in the end I was stronger than him.”

Golberg voiced disappointment in yesterday’s fourth place finish in the sprints. “A really frustrating day yesterday,” he said. “But that’s a part of the game.” Golberg shed his glasses midway through the race, and drove on through the finish with the determination of man bent on revenge. In Klaebo’s absence, Golberg has been become the dominant force in men’s World Cup Cross Country, contending in sprints and distance races, alike. Today was no exception as he proved too tough and too fast for the field to challenge. “Today was another good day,” he said. “[I] tried to ski a steady pace, and I had some power at the end.”

Hunter Wonders (USA) tucks the downhill in brutally cold conditions at Beitostolen, Norway. Wonders would finish the day as top American in 16th place. (Photo: NordicFocus)

Ogden (USA) sat in the leader’s chair through the first fifteen finishers until supplanted by Janosch Brugger (GER) whose finishing time was positioned atop the standings for quite a while. Top American, Wonders, also skied to a terrific 16th place finish. Ultimately, Golberg topped them all, finishing in 23:55.6, 7.6 seconds ahead of Toenseth in 2nd, and 10.7 ahead of Musgrave in 3rd.

With two Americans in the top 20, there was much to celebrate. “For many Americans the threshold for an average race is starting to change,” said Ogden. “That said, we are still hungry and place emphasis on the process rather than the result.”

Ogden also spoke of his confidence in American skiers during tough days of racing like these in Beitostolen. “The US skiers are fighters,” he said. “We are accustomed to adversity and challenge so when the cards are down and the thermometer is hovering right around the legal limit you can expect to see some American flags a little higher up the list. ”

Like Ogden, Wonders had much to say in praise of his teammates, and the American team system that encourages their success. “I’m beyond stoked with the race. And It’s a big confidence boost for the rest of the season,” he said. “The team dynamic has been great this season. Lots of support in all sorts of ways, and seeing your teammates crush gives you some encouragement each day.”

British fans must be thrilled to see Musgrave’s efforts rewarded. Saturday’s announcers spoke of Musgrave as a breakthrough performer on the day, but he’s been steadily chipping away at the results for years, with his results often hovering near the podium. Racing buff-less, and in his signature headband, Musgrave seemed unaffected by the cold in Beitostolen. And his willingness to latch on to a speeding Golberg displayed a confidence that worked to his advantage in this ten kilometer test. Throughout his career, Musgrave has been known to race bravely—even rashly—but that is the sort of attitude that can pay off at 10k. It paid off for him today.

World Cup Men’s Classic 10 k, RESULTS

Didrik Toenseth (NOR), Paal Golberg (NOR), Andrew Musgrave (GBR), (l-r) – FIS world cup cross-country, 10km, Beitostolen, Norway. (Photo: NordicFocus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Teaford

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