Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) turned in one of the best performances of his life today, February 27, to take a career best 15th place in the 15k freestyle cross country race at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Val Di Fiemme, Italy. Hoffman has posted two career top 30th finishes in 15k distances, but never in freestyle. Hoffman put in a very strong performance overall, but made the push with an exceptionally strong finish to move him up from 20th to 15th in the last lap of the race.
After the race, Noah shared the strategy that led him to such a strong performance today, explaining, “My plan was to go out under control. I was able to do that today. I felt very under control in the 40s at 1.8k which was exactly where I wanted to be. Late in the race I got on (Lukas) Bauer. I was struggling to stay with him but he was a good ride for me. With a lap to go I was 20th and following him I moved up to 15th.”
Fellow countrymen Tad Elliot (Durango, CO) and Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) were able to turn in solid performances as well, finishing 34th and 48th respectively.
Tad Elliot discussed the ups and downs of his performances after the race, saying, “I’m still feeling like I’m a bit off but it was a good race for me. I beat a lot of guys who beat me in Davos.”
“I think I pretty much gave it all I could,” said Erik Bjornsen. “But it’s hard getting passed by people. But I feel like I was making good movements. The strategy today was to make time on the flats and to hang in on the uphills. I knew if I was going to have a good race I was going to have to start hard. I died a bit more than I wanted to but also had a great last kilometer.”
Once again, there were no surprises on the podium as Petter Northug of Norway won his 8th career world championships gold, leading the pack the entire way.
Action continues Thursday with the women’s 4x5k relay where the US is expected to be among the top nations.