Springtime temperatures ruled the course for a second day in a row Friday at the men’s 15k classic of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Here’s Kris Freeman battling the loose and challenging track. (Getty Images/Richard Heathcote)
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (Feb. 14) – Springtime temperatures ruled the course for a second day in a row Friday at the men’s 15k classic of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games, where Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) took the top spot for the USA in 31st. The temperatures spiked to 50 degrees during the race, and Dario Cologna of Switzerland reigned in a gold medal despite the slushy track at the Laura Cross Country Ski Center. The women team up for the 4x5k relay Saturday, and the event can be streamed live on NBCOlympics.com at 5:00 a.m. EST.
Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) took the top spot for the USA Friday, finishing 31st at the men’s 15k classic event of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Hoffman also led the USA in the skiathlon, the Olympic opening for men’s cross country.
The temperatures spiked to 50 degrees during the race, and Dario Cologna of Switzerland reigned in a gold medal despite the slushy track at the Laura Cross Country Ski Center. Swedes Johan Olsson and Daniel Richardsson earned silver and bronze.
Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) finished 38th, Brian Gregg (Winthrop, WA) 47th and Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) 52nd.
Springtime temperatures ruled the course for a second day in a row, where wax selection was crucial to success and athletes were forced to battle overheating in short sleeves.
The women team up for the 4x5k relay Saturday, when World Champions Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) and Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) will fight for an Olympic medal with help from Liz Stephen (Montpelier, VT) and rookie Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA).
QUOTES Noah Hoffman It was just a really tough course and obviously there are some guys that skied really fast. I had really great opportunities for great rides. I had (Eldar) Roenning, (Johan) Olsson and (Dario) Cologna all ski through me and I couldn’t stay with any of them unfortunately.
We definitely try to develop classic techniques that work in all conditions, and we see these warm conditions fairly often on the World Cup. I think it’s coming along even though the results aren’t showing it, and I’m looking forward to more opportunities.
Erik Bjornsen It was harder than I was expecting. It was a pretty tough course. I’ve been going out too easy a lot this year, so I went out harder today and I don’t know if it was the right strategy.
It was really hot, even hotter than I was expecting, so it’s just another factor. I don’t mind these conditions too much, but the heat got to me. I was falling over after the finish; I could barely stand up. I’m pretty happy because I feel like I left it all out there, especially on that first 3k. I went out hard and I paid the price for it in the next 5k.
Brian Gregg I was pretty happy with my classic race, with the exception of that last turn. I didn’t go in the right lanel. I went to the lap lane. I’m really frustrated by that, but other than that it was a really good race. I definitely was out of it and wasn’t thinking quite straight there.
I talked to the girls and they said that the whole course kind of catches up with you. So I tried to push pretty hard on the flats and relax a little bit more on the climbs to try to keep my rhythm so I wasn’t so blown when I got to the flat on top.
Kris Freeman It was one of the hardest course I think I’ve ever raced on. It was really slow and had tons of elevation with a three-minute sustained climb. It’s hard. It’s the Olympics, it’s the way it should be. I wish my fitness had come around for today. I was racing really cautiously because I go right over the edge so easily. I’m not hapy with the result but I put everything I had out there.