World Cup Recap: Lahti, Norway
For many USA World Cup contenders Lahti was a rest weekend and they stayed in Norway for the up incoming races. Many teams were also not present for the relay, including USA, and the atmosphere was not the same as in years past. Lahti also has had one of the worst winters in recent memory and raced on mainly artificial snow. They got a small dusting to make everything look white but there was less than 5 inches of natural snow on the ground.
Lahti Ski Games
- Feb 29 Classic Interval Start
- Feb 30 4x 5km and 4x 7.5km Relay
Classic Interval Start
This year’s Lahti Ski Games were a fast one for ski times and because of that the time gaps were really tight between competitors. In the women’s field Therese Johaug continued her winning streak by narrowly beating out Sweden’s Ebba Anderson by less than five seconds. The hometown hero, Krista Parmakoski was able to find the podium in the opening race and clinch third place. For the US they only had three starters Rosie Brennan, Caitlin Patterson, and first time starter this season Becca Rorabaugh. Brennan raced to another top 20, continuing her consistent and possibly best overall season to date. Patterson nearly cracked the top thirty finishing in 36th place. Hot on her heels was Rorabaugh who finished in 39th in her 2020 World Cup debut. In the men’s race it was Iivo Niskanen of Finland who took his second victory of the season in the individual classic race. His first win was in Ruka at the World Cup opener also taking place in front of the home crowd. World Cup leader Alexander Bolshunov, of Russia, was able to return to form after a horrific pursuit race last weekend finishing in second only ten seconds off the win. Rounding out the podium was Norwegian Hans Christer Holund, continuing a couple weekends with top 5 finishes. The US men had two starters with Ben Lustgarten and Adam Martin. Martin edged out Lustgarten by less than five seconds to take 46th and Lustgarten ended the day one position behind, 47th.
It was a Norway day as both the men and women would retain their relay team titles. The women won in dominant fashion blowing away the competition by thirty seconds. Finland reached their first team podium in recent years and hung on strong for a second place effort. Sweden barely edged out Russia by a toe length for third. The US did not start a women or men’s relay as most athletes are resting up for a big race weekend in Norway. The men’s race was a lot closer and came down to the final 1km to decide the winner. Johannes Klæbo attacked the group on the final downhill and sprinted away from the group to collect gold. The Swiss men had the fastest skis of the group and played the draft perfectly on the final descent passing the other contenders and cruising to a second place finish. Russia was able to hold off a surging Italian team for the final podium spot.
- March 04 Freestyle Sprints, Finals start @ 8:30am CST
Holmenkollen - Oslo, Norway
- March 07 Women Classic 30km Mass Start, starts @ 5:00am CST
- March 08 Men Classic 50km Mass Start, starts @ 4:30am CST
This week is the historic Drammen city sprints and Holmenkollen distance races, a yearly World Cup event that can attract 100,000+ spectators for the Saturday festivities. Look for all the big contenders to be attacking early and often to try and secure a victory and land their name into the record books of one of the most historic races in cross country skiing.
About the author...
Chris Hecker is a Rex Wax representative and wax technician working on the World Cup this season for both cross-country and biathlon events. Hecker hails from Ham Lake, Minnesota, racing for Anoka high school and St. Scholastica College. Hecker will be providing regular updates on the World Cup racing scene this season. Chris can be reached at: