The 43rd edition of the Nordic World Ski Championships concluded today in Oberstdorf, Germany. The 10th competition day in Cross-Country skiing, awaited with the prestigious mens 50km in Classic style. 8 rounds awaited the starters, including climbing the entire “Burgstall” hill in each lap.
After the first two loops after 12km a field of around 40 athletes were still together, paced by Emil Iversen (NOR), Iivo Niskanen (FIN), Alexey Chervotkin (RSF), Jens Burman (SWE) and Paal Golberg (NOR). On the heels were long distance experts like Hans Christer Holund (NOR), Alexander Bolshunov (RSF) as well as Dario Cologna from Switzerland.
Heading into the third lap, Emil Iversen tried to merge ahead but was soon caught up by the chasing group. In the meantime, also Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR) caught up with the leaders as well as Simen Hegstad Krüger (NOR) who fell back after a crash in the first lap. Also Andrew Musgrave (GBR) was in the leading group after getting tangled in the feeding zone earlier in the race.
Only for the sixth lap, Niskanen, Golberg, Klæbo and Musgrave went to the ski box to exchange their skis. They caught up with the leaders at the bottom of the Burgstall hill climb where the leading group was down – but still at 18 athletes. In the meantime it had started to rain a little and challenged more skiers on their turns.
Johannes Høsflot Klæbo led the way back down to the stadium where Bolshunov, Iversen, Holund, Cologna and Krüger went to change their skis. With fresh material on their feet, all skiers in the front were ready for their moves in the final two laps. At the bottom of the seventh Burgstall climb, it was still six skiers in the leading group whereas Musgrave and Krüger had fallen behind. With a tremendous effort, the duo caught up with the leading group in the final lap just where they had lost contact the round before. The long uphill seemed to become the decisive section for the top spots of the race. At the final intermediate at 47.8km the standing showed Holund, Iversen, Klæbo, Bolshunov, Krüger, Burman and Niskanen in top positions. The leading group was down to 6 athletes.
Despite all efforts and a thrilling development of the race, the situation that will be remembered most from this final race occurred in the final stretch towards the finish line where Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, Alexander Bolshunov and Emil Iversen were lined up to sprint towards the finish. As Klæbo overpassed Bolshunov in the outrun of the downhill that leads to the final corridors, a contact between the two skiers occurred. With a broken pole, Bolshunov tried to keep up with Klæbo who had skied in front and Iversen who overtook on the next line. Johannes Høsflot Klæbo crossed the finish line first before Emil Iversen and Alexander Bolshunov. In fourth position followed Simen Hegstad Krüger.
While the jury reviewed the situation between Bolshunov and Klæbo, the Team of the Russian Ski Federation came to the jury room to make a protest on the result of the race. The situation was thoroughly reviewed by all jury members which ended in the disqualification of Johannes Høsflot Klæbo. As an immediate reaction, the Norwegian Team made a protest on the decision of disqualification. After further evaluation by the jury, the protest was not accepted.
Therefore the final result of the podium in the 50km C, Emil Iversen takes the title of World Champion before Alexander Bolshunov and Simen Hegstad Krüger.