Four in the Top 30 in Holmenkollen 50k
The Holmenkollen mass start 50k race is one of the most attended and popular races on the World Cup circuit. Held in downtown Oslo, the race dates back to the early 1900s and officially became part of the FIS World Cup circuit in 1981. Since then, it is a staple on the calendar and brings tens of thousands of spectators to the long, windy course to cheer on the best ski racers in the world.
Today, March 11, just a week after many of these athletes raced in the 2023 World Championships 50k race in Planica, Slovenia, lined up to the finish line in Oslo. Representing the U.S. was Scott Patterson, Hunter Wonders, Gus Schumacher and David Norris. Just last week, Patterson led the team in 16th in Slovenia, while Norris was seconds behind in 22nd, Schumacher in 28th and Wonders in 31st. Today, results were similar, but better!
On the 31 mile track, with over 6,000 feet of elevation gain, Norris led the way in 17th, Patterson was 18th, Wonders was 23rd and Schumacher was 28th - all landing within the top 30 and adding more World Cup points to their 2022-23 season resume.
The sun was out, the fans were ready and you could feel the excitement even on the furthest part of the course. With great conditions, the course was fast and the pace never slowed.
Norris led the team for the day and taking a deeper dive into his splits, he never ventured from the top 20. At the 27.9k marker, Norris was in 12th place, in the chase pack. From there, he fell a few spots to 19th at 36.2k but stayed consistent in his pace and crossed the line in 17th in a time of one hour and 58 minutes. His 17th place marks a career best World Cup 50k result.
"Today went well for me," said Norris. "No major mishaps and I have pretty good energy considering my schedule. Third 50 in three weeks! I'm so grateful that the Steamboat Winter Sports Club allowed me to come here for two weeks. This has been a great experience. The team here has been wonderful to join back up with."
For Patterson, he finished right behind Norris. In the start of the race, Patterson was keeping position within the top 15. At the 3k to 19k markers, Patterson was moving between 12th place and 14th place, taking turns leading the chase pack. At the end of the day, Patterson still broke into the top 20 and finished only three minutes behind the leader.
"It was an interesting tactical race," said Patterson. "It was a so-so day, hoping for a little more but we still have two more weeks of the World Cup and looking to finishing off the season strong!"
For Wonders, the story was similar to that of his teammates. Wonders never ventured far from the top 25. He was 13th going into the first marker and then in the mid 20s through the rest. The pace was fast around the tight corners of the course and Wonders stuck his ground and crossed the line in 23rd, a career-best individual World Cup 50k result.
Schumacher skied right with Wonders nearly the entire race, going back and fourth with him and his teammates in the 20-28th place range. For Schumacher, he crossed the line in 28th and will leave this race with a career-best individual World Cup 50k result.
"it was a crazy day!" said Schumacher. "I am psyched on it. It felt really good for the first four laps. The atmosphere was great and it was just really fun. I wouldn't trade it for the World, my first time was all I expected it to be and I am looking forward to the rest of the season!"
At the end of the day, Norway took over the podium. Simen Hegstad Krueger took first, Hans Christer Holund was second and ML Nyenget was third.
Now, the men will rest before heading to Drammen for Tuesday's race.