Press release from www.fiemme2013.com
He needed this gold. He wanted it, he worked for it, he craved it. Finally, he took it.
Petter Northug jr. (NOR) conquered his first gold in these Nordic World Ski Championships, skiing always on the offensive and had the best time at every intermediate. In the end, he looked really spent, showing clearly that he gave everything from the first to the last metre. Northug gave everything and after the finish line he crashed to the ground, totally exhausted. But it was worth it: this tremendous effort allowed the Norwegian to conquer his 8th World Championships gold, the first in Val di Fiemme.
Northug opened his race in the fastest possible way, catching up several athletes already after the first lap, skied at the amazing speed of 10’45’’. After the first 5 km, Northug was already in the lead, 17 seconds ahead of Dario Cologna (SUI).
Johan Olsson and Tord Asle Gjerdalen started with a slower pace, staying at 25 and 30 seconds distance from the leader after the first lap. During the second lap, Northug, Olsson and Gjerdalen kept the same pace and it looked like they were getting away from the others, who seemed to start struggling on the steep climbs of Lago di Tesero and losing ground on the leaders. Ivan Babikov showed an incredible ability to manage his energies and climbed up the ranking, keeping the same speed as the leaders.
The final lap confirmed the same trends and Northug began to give time back, clearly paying for his fast opening. Nevertheless, the Norwegian was able to find somewhere the energy to keep his first position and, in the end, he defended his leadership from the attack of Gjerdalen and Olsson.
Men's top 5
1. NORTHUG Petter jr.(NOR) 34:37.1
2. OLSSON Johan (SWE) +11.8
3. GJERDALEN Tord Asle (NOR) +22.3
4. BABIKOV Ivan (CAN) +53.6
5. ROETHE Sjur (NOR) +1:03.0
Complete results are available here.