Evgeniy Belov shines in Otepää and is U23 World Champion. UPDATED
Evgeniy Belov from Russia won clearly the 15 km free technique race at the U23 World Championships in Otepää today.
The Russian World Cup skier manage to ski the 4 x 3,75 km in a time of 35:26.3 and claimed victory 16,1 seconds ahead of his team mate Pavel Vikulin. Raul Shakirzianov completed the Russian success by taking the third spot 23,4 seconds behind Belov.
Andrew Musgrave set the speed of the first kilometers in the 15 km long competition. The athlete from Great Britain who is training in Norway was the fastest in the first lap but then he lost a bit against the strong Russians. At the end Musgrave finished sixth while Belov took over the lead for the second lap on and his team mates increased the pace towards the end as well. Thomas Vestboe from Norway had a strong race on the second lap but lost at the end against Shakirzianov and edged out of the podium with taking the fourth place 29,2 behind Belov.
For Belov it was the greatest success in his career after being second last year in the interval start competition at the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships. Also Vikulin collected already medals in his junior age by taking the third spot in the interval start and the relay victory at the FIS Nordic Junior World Championships 2009.
Weather: sunny, -18,5C
Snow Conditions: hard packed
Evgeniy Belov (RUS)
“My classical technique is better than my free one, so I was prepared for a tough fight today. I had to speed up in the finish. I started slowly and the gap on the first lap was 15 seconds but in the second lap I accelerated. All the 4 laps were good for me. I want to win more medals from the rest of the races at Otepää. I am familiar with this track because we have had training camps here. I also competed here last weekend at the World Cup.”
Pavel Vikulin (RUS)
“This is my third medal from Championships and I am very happy about it. I will not attend at Oslo because we as a younger generation have to wait a bit more.”
Raul Shakirzianov (RUS)
“It was a tough race for me, but I had good skies and I am used with cold so this was a helper for me. When I started I aimed at the top three and I am really satisfied with the course and organization. I would also like to thank my coach who has done a great job.”