OSLO, Norway - Norway continued to dominate at the 2011 Nordic World Ski Championships Friday winning the men’s 4x10k relay. The United States team of Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), Kris Freeman (Andover, NH), Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) and Tad Elliott (Durango, CO) finished in 14th place.
In a spellbinding race that saw five teams separated by less than three seconds on the third lap, the lead swapped back and forth between Finland and Italy before Norway’s turbocharged Petter Northug took control in the final kilometer to give Norway the gold medal. Norway’s winning team was comprised of Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Eldar Roenning, Tord Asle Gjerdalen and Petter Northug, winning in 1:40.10.2. Sweden was second only 1.3 back and Germany took the bronze medal only 5.7 behind.
The USA was just under seven minutes back, juggling between 12th and 14th most of the race.
“It wasn’t like a typical World Cup relay where we stay together,” said Newell, who ran opening leg. “People definitely went for it. It was tough. As usual, it felt pretty easy for me the first few kilometers. I even just tried to ski my own race for a bit and not stay with the pack because it was falling apart right from the start but I still blew up pretty hard.”
“I caught up to Len [Valjas] and I put a hard move on him then he caught up to me on the downhill and we started playing cat and mouse,” said Freeman. “It’s hard to tell how fast I was skiing. I was mostly skiing by myself.”
“It’s my first time at a World Champs, so I was pretty happy,” said Elliott. “Freeman skied a hell of a leg for us. I felt good skiing out there. It was a good experience.”
Action continues Saturday with the final women’s event, the 30k classic. The USA will go with Kikkan Randall (Anchorage), Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, VT), Morgan Arritola (Fairfield, ID) and Holly Brooks (Anchorage).
FIS Nordic World Ski Championships
Oslo, Norway – Mar. 4, 2011
4x10k Mixed Technique Relay
Gold: Norway, (Martin Johnsrud Sunby, Eldar Roenning, Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Petter Northug), 1:40:10.2
Silver: Sweden, (Daniel Rickardsson, Johan Olsson, Anders Soedergren, Marcus Hellner), +1.3
Bronze: Germany, (Jens Filbrich, Axel Teichmann, Franz Goering, Tobias Angerer), +5.7
14. USA, (Andy Newell, Kris Freeman, Noah Hoffman, Tad Elliott), +6:54.8