U.S. Men Ninth in World Championship Team Relay
The U.S. men’s relay team skied a gutsy race to finish ninth at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Seefeld, Austria, on Friday. The U.S. team had an early morning roster adjustment for anchor skier Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Co.), who woke up with a sore throat and was replaced with Kyle Bratrud (Eden Prairie, Minn.).
Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) was the lead skier in the first of the classic legs, skiing brilliantly in fourth place before tagging off to Scott Patterson (Anchorage, Alaska).
“Erik skied a really smart and gutsy race and is obviously skiing well,” said U.S. Cross Country Team World Cup Coach Matt Whitcomb. “We were starting 12th and there are only two tracks in the relay, so his challenge today was to be aggressive early and get into the break when it happens. Because of his tactics he was able to hand off to Scott just 4-seconds behind the leaders. Scott kept things very close for a long time before he got snapped off the group. Unfortunately, David Norris (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Bratrud had to ski in no man’s land out there by themselves.”
It was a dramatically different weather day with steady rain and cooler temperatures, a welcome break from the extreme warmth that has plagued the Championships so far.
“Erik handed off to me in fourth, right behind the leaders,” said Patterson. “It grouped up pretty well soon afterwards and I was skiing with the front teams. It was fun for a while until they picked up the pace on the hills and I popped kind of hard. I was hoping to give David and Kyle a better group to ski with but ended up on my own.”
“We started bib 12th and ended ninth,” continued Whitcomb. “We are feeling really physed on the skis today and very excited for the 30k and 50k coming up.”
Team Norway took the gold - their 10th-consecutive team relay World Championship title - with Russia winning the silver, and France just edging Finland at the line to take the bronze.
The Championships continue Saturday with the women’s 30k freestyle. U.S. starters will be Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.), Rosie Brennan (Park City, Utah), Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.), and Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury, Vt.)
Men’s 4x10k relay
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Saturday, March 2
6:15 a.m. - FIS World Cross Country Skiing Championships women’s 30k - Seefeld, AUT - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - FIS World Cross Country Skiing Championships women’s 30k - Seefeld, AUT - Olympic Channel-TV*
All streams are available via desktop (NBCSports.com/Live, NBCSports.com/Gold and OlympicChannel.com) as well as mobile, tablet and connected television platforms. The NBC Sports app, NBC Sports Gold app and Olympic Channel app are available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass.