Title defender Evgeniy Belov took gold in the 15 km classic race by a good margin of 25,4 seconds to silver medalist Noah Hoffman from USA. On third place finished German's hope Hannes Dotzler, 29,0 seconds behind the winner. Strong team performance showed Germany with have three athletes among top 5.
Hannes Dotzler of Germany opened up very fast and was leading the way at 5.0 km five seconds ahead of Evgeniy Belov (RUS) and Noah Hoffmann who was close behind the Russian. It was Evgeniy Belov who took over command and topped the intermediate points in the second half of the competition.
Belov was increasing the gap on Hoffman and and Dotzler and crossed the finish with the comfortable margin of +25.4 sec. Belov claimed second medal at the U23 World Ski Championships in Erzurum.
Noah Hoffman enjoys competing in difficult conditions and he doesn't mind racing in high altitude. The US skier from Aspen romped to second place, after having been fighting hard with Hannes Dotzler (GER). Dotzler had been coping with his left ear and had to be on antibiotics. Nevertheless the German skier from Sonthofen produced the strong performance and led his squad to success as Tim Tscharnke finished fourth and Thomas Bing fifth.
Evgeniy Belov (RUS)
I cannot express how happy I am today when I defended the title from Otepää. It was a tough competition. My plan was to start carefully and then to build up the pace. I had excellent skis. Our waxing team did a great job. I am in great shape these days. I am happy I can be fighting for medals both in sprints and in distance competitions. I will have a rest now and will be getting ready for the Skiathlon on Saturday. Last year I claimed silver medal in that competition and I am hoping for a good result again.
Noah Hoffman (USA)
I feel really good. That was fun to race today. Evgeniy Belov was very fast today. It's my fifth time at the Junior/U23 Championships and I am happy for the podium. I was getting the split times on the course but I was trying to stay focused on my performance.
Hannes Dotzler (GER)
It was a very good race today. I am happy about my third place. I had problems with my otitis in my left ear so I had to be on antibiotics. Fortunately I did not need my ear for racing. It was very hard to be competing in the high altitude. I wanted to go slowly at the beginning but then I was in the lead after 5.0 km. I was probably too fast in early stages of the race but I came to the finish for bronze and I am happy for that. I hope I will have a good race on Saturday. The German team had a good day with strong performance. I hope Jochen Behle is happy with us.
Results are available here.