Patterson Top 20, Wonders Top 30 in Men's 30k Skiathlon
Not every day of cross country ski racing can include firm snow with perfect tracks, and today was no exception. Despite the challenging conditions, the U.S. men posted solid results among the strong field in the men's 30k skiathlon, highlighted by a top-20 result from Scott Patterson, who was 19th overall.
The skiathlon race features both techniques - skate and classic. Throughout the 30km of distance, athletes started the first 15km with the classic technique, then transitioned straight to the skate technique for the second 15km.
For the classic portion of the race, the course led the skiers downhill for the first 1-1.5km. With technical turns at high speeds in a pack of 64 skiers, it was hard not to get tangled up; there were a few significant crashes that led to several broken poles and broken skis. Moving forward, the U.S. men consistently skied within the same pack. Within seconds of each other, Patterson was 18th going into the stadium for the first lap. Wonders and Gus were right behind him in the top 30. At the 6km marker, Patterson dropped back by only a few skiers, again in a large pack and was positioned in 26th, Hunters 30th and Schumacher 35th.
After the first 15km of classic skiing, all athletes skied through the exchange zone to switch to their skate skis and poles, and began the second half of the race, this time on a new course.
With Simon Hegstad Krueger of Norway leading the way, he eventually put some space between him and his teammate Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo, the winner of yesterday's 1.4km individual classic sprint. With the snow getting choppier each lap, the athletes pushed through.
"This course has some really long working sections and with the snow, it made them even longer," said Schumacher. "I just tried to ski as well as I could, and I finished the race to prove that I can and to keep practicing fighting through."
At the end of the day, Norway swept the podium. Krueger won, Klaebo was 4.09 seconds behind in second and Roethe was third. For the U.S. Patterson scored a World Championships top-20 result, Wonders was 24th and Schumacher 38th.
"It was a good race! I skied a very consistent race which I am happy with, with good transitions into skate." said Wonders. "Overall I am happy with the performance!" Teammate Patterson was similar in his post-race response. "Today was fine!" he said. "I never really feel like I could find the top gear but it was a fine start to World Championships but I am definitely looking forward to more racing!"
Now, the men will have a rest day and the women will race the 15k Skiathlon tomorrow, Feb. 25.
HOW TO WATCH
Saturday, Feb. 25 - skiandsnowboard.live
8:00 a.m. ET - 15k Skiathlon, Classic/Skate, Women’s
Sunday, Feb. 26 - skiandsnowboard.live
5:30 a.m. ET - Team Sprint, Skate, Men’s and Women’s
Tuesday, Feb. 28 - skiandsnowboard.live
6:30 a.m. ET - 10k, Skate, Women’s
Wednesday, March 1 - skiandsnowboard.live
6:30 a.m. ET - 15k, Skate, Men’s
Thursday, March 2 - skiandsnowboard.live
6:30 a.m. ET - 4x5k Relay, Classic/Skate, Women’s
Friday, March 3 - skiandsnowboard.live
6:30 a.m. ET - 4x10k Relay, Classic/Skate, Men’s
Saturday, March 4 - skiandsnowboard.live
6:00 a.m. ET - 30k, Classic, Women’s
Sunday, March 5 - skiandsnowboard.live
6:00 a.m. ET - 50k, Classic, Men’s