Richardsson wins thrilling Holmenkollen 50 km
Daniel Richardsson of Sweden has won the 2014 Holmenkollen 50 km in the classic technique. Early in the competition a lead group of 5 skiers separated from the main field. This group included Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR), Alexander Legkov (RUS), Iivo Niskanen (FIN), Lukas Bauer (CZE) and Richardsson. After the 2nd lap all the in the group except for Bauer opted to change skis giving him roughly a 20 second advantage. The others were able to make that time back up before the end of the next lap.
With one lap remaining the lead group was down to just Sundby, Legkov and Richarsson. Niskanen was just behind but unable to rejoin the group. Bauer slipped back to the chasing pack. With less than 4 km to the finish Legkov start to lose contact with Sundby and Richardsson. The two leaders were together all the way into the stadium where Richarsson double polled away for Sundby for the victory with about 800 metres remaining. Richardsson managed his efforts throughout the day saving his big move for when it really counted.
For Richardsson it was his second World Cup win and caps an excellent second half of the season where he was on the podium in Toblach just before the Sochi games and became a gold medalist in the men's relay in Sochi.
Sundby was aggressive all day collecting 81 points in the bonus sprints to secure the Overall World Cup victory even before the finish line. With his second place finish he collect 161 points with the bonus sprints. This marks the third consecutive time that Sundby as been on the podium at Holmenkollen. He was second in 2013 in free technique and third in 2012 in classic style.
Switzerland's Dario Cologna struggled with pain in his ankle, the same ankle that he underwent surgery for in November to repair damaged ligaments. Cologna withdrew from the 50 km around the halfway point in the competition.
Today marked the final World Cup competitions for both Jens Fibrich and Tobias Angerer of Germany.
Daniel Richardsson (SWE)
The speed was very high from the beginning. The bonus sprints helped to increase the pace. I had a small crash in a downhill and lost some seconds on Martin and Alexander. Then I decided to take it easy and save some energy for the finish. I had a difficult summer but I always believed I could be winning again. It feels great to win in Holmenkollen. I hope big crowd is coming to Falun next week.
Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR)
I am very happy about second place. I really tried to win but Daniel was stronger and smarter than all of us. I did not have a chance in the finish agains him. It’s a great day for me when I secured the Overall World Cup. It was really fun race today, we were a small group skiing upfront. The crowds were incredible. I tried to speed up in the second lap. We managed to open a good gap. We had a good dynamics in the front group.
Alexander Legkov (RUS)
I am little bit disappointed about third place, however, I am stronger in free technique so third place in classic feels like victory. After Sochi in Lahti I have been both mentally and physically tired. I felt in better shape today. My skis were very good.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - Men's 50 km
1. RICHARDSSON Daniel SWE 2:07:29.5
2. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud NOR +8.2
3. LEGKOV Alexander RUS +14.5
4. NISKANEN Iivo FIN +1:22.3
5. NELSON Lars SWE +1:55.3
Complete results are available HERE.
Overall World Cup Standing Men
1. Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR) 1288 pts
2. Alexander Legkov (RUS) 811 pts
3. Chris Andre Jespersen (NOR) 739 pts
Distance World Cup Men
1. Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR) 602 pts
2. Alexander Legkov (RUS) 503 pts
3. Chris Andre Jespersen (NOR) 354 pts