– It’s big and it’s fun. For me, who grew up on the slopes here, it means a little extra, the cheerful Simen Hegstad Krüger tells NRK.
WC king Krüger and mile eater Hans Christer Holund were not allowed to walk five miles in WC, while Iver Tildheim Andersen was not selected for the championship.
Nevertheless, the three away from the other were under five miles at Holmenkollen. They eliminated Johannes Høsflot Klæbo and co. after 30 kilometers, and dancing over the sea of people at the top of Oslo.
Krüger opens up that he is “disappointed” after being crushed in a five mile WC, and goes to work to get revenge. Towards the long haul, towards the stadium, he managed to get a pass from Holund, and in the goal area he was greeted by a wild roar of joy.
Krüger is open that the five-mile-long wreck fueled him a bit more.
– It makes it taste a little better. It means a little extra once the board is in place, he says.
– Can we conclude that the WC draw is wrong now?
– Then, others can conclude that.
– This is clearly important to Kruger. He was by far the best five-mile runner here today, said NRK cross-country expert Fredrik Aukland of Krüger’s revenge.
Tildheim Andersen had to write off the strong duo and in the end Martin Løwstrøm Nyenget also brought in 3rd place.
– Worst result in history
A long line of Norwegians followed behind, and at the finish all of the top ten runners wore red, white, and blue ski-shirts.
– This could be the best result, or should we say the worst result in history, this is here, Torgeir Bjørn commenting on Norway’s total domination along the way.
– This is a completely hopeless list, he added.
After the race, he took charge of the statement.
– Delighted the Norwegian eye in the short run with the first ten places, but for international cross-country skiing this was the worst result in history.
Therese Johaug shares the concern.
– It’s great that we have so many good men, but the interest in international cross-country skiing may not be entirely lucky, says Johaug.
During the men’s five mile race at Holmenkollen a new record was set when only 36 men started. In the 2000s, the 45 starters from the previous 2019 were the lowest.
– It was as feared, said Klæbo about the Norwegian tenfold.
– Too bad we didn’t have more people in the first place, and weird that more foreigners don’t think it’s cool to go here. There is no place in the World Cup circus where we meet what we meet here, he continued.
Among the top 30 at the World Cup, only nine athletes competed on Saturday.
FIS race directors hit back at the Norwegian press
It’s not just Bjørn who is painting a slightly grim picture after the Norwegian big slam. VG sports commentator Leif Welhaven wrote that “parody complete” and that sport is self-destructive.
FIS race director Michal Lamplot was reacting to negative reports in the Norwegian press and believed that Saturday’s five-mile race at Kollen painted an unfair picture of the balance of power in true international cross-country skiing.
– This is “nonsense”. I don’t know how anyone can call 50 kilometers a travesty. It’s disrespectful to those who compete and give their all. It was very surprising to hear that, he told NRK.
– JI don’t think you should use today’s results to draw conclusions for the whole season. When you look at the results for the entire season, the results are much more colorful. This is more the exception than the rule, he added.
The race itself was quieter than the downhill party, but eventually it became clear that Simen Hegstad Krüger and Hans Christer had a plan.
The duo are the only ones going in to change skis midway. Indeed, an opening was forming for Klæbo and co. after that, but with freshly prepared skis, it was only five kilometers before Krüger and Holund regained the lead.
From there, they continued to increase the competition, and only Iver Tildheim Andersen was able to keep up.
When the rest changed skis a lap later, the mileage was just over 35 seconds.
– They put another competitor offside, said Aukland.
– They did the right thing. They take advantage of their strengths and can help each other avoid the sprints that would occur if Klæbo and Golberg were involved, added Johaug.
Leave the heating plan
Krüger revealed that the winning plan was hatched by him and Holund during the 40-minute warm-up before the start of the race.
– We have a plan to change rounds before anything else. We take advantage of the fact that we have new skis. It defines today. “We don’t know what the other plans are, but we want to make it a tough race,” he said.
Although Krüger reveals that the two were in on the plan, Holund refuses to say who was involved in the sneaky tactical move.
– I will not say that. It’s a secret, he smiled.
Even before the race, he was asked by NRK what his plans were. “No plan”he said then.
– I can’t reveal his plans to the rest of the world. Then there is no point in making plans. It was a bit of a bluff, he replied after the race.
– I think that’s what decides the race. It’s kind of fun when that tactic works. I was starting to get a little impatient being back there at slow speed, then we finally had to change skis on the third lap and then full speed from there.
According to Løwstrøm Nyenget, Krüger and Holund grinned their way through the rest of the trail.
– They can remove it. I think it’s badly done. When they just slide. But it’s okay to be sneaky, he smiled.
– That grin will remain all day, answered Holund.
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