“Today I dared to believe”

 

Hans Christer Holund (NOR) won the 50km skate mass start at the 2019 FIS Nordic World Championships. Photo: Nordic Focus

Hans Christer Holund (NOR) won the 50km skate mass start at the 2019 FIS World Championships after skiing alone for 30km. What a performance.

“This victory means the world to me. Winning the World Championships is something I have dreamt about since I was a kid, but maybe didn’t quite dare to believe in. Today I dared to believe, and I dared to trust myself,” Holund said after his race.

One shot at the gold
Holund, who turned 30 years old just a few days before the World Championships, skied only one race in Seefeld: the mighty 50-kilometer skate race on the final day of the Championship week. And what a race he skied.

In brutal conditions on a punishing racecourse, Holund made his move with 30 kilometers to go. He pulled away from the rest, and quickly had a 15-second gap. And the gap just kept growing. At one point, Holund was ahead by 1:20. By the final lap, that gap was down to just over half a minute.

“I knew I had to go early, so I did, and I felt quite confident most of the way. But on the last lap I was super scared that the Russian would catch me,” Holund says.

“Right now I am just really happy. It’s unreal. But I am so grateful of everyone who has supported me throughout the years. It has been a roller coaster ride, from a promising junior racer to a mediocre senior racer and now a good senior racer.”

Behind the scenes: Redline 2.0 

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Hans Christer Holund on his way to the gold medal in the 50km skate mass start on Sunday. Photo: Geir Olsen/www.go-media.no

Four medals
In addition to Holund’s gold, Madshus racers took home three silver medals from the 2019 FIS Nordic World Championships in Seefeld, Austria.

First, Alexander Bessmertnykh (RUS) earned silver medal in the 15-kilometer individual start classic race. Then, two days later, he helped Russia to the silver medal in the men’s 4×10-kilometer relay. Bessmertnykh skied the second leg for his team.

Heidi Weng (NOR), who was seventh in the duathlon, helped Norway to the silver medal in the relay. Skiing the crucial first leg, Weng set up her team perfectly. Despite being so nervous prior to the race that she bare slept the night before, she fought every inch of the way to the exchange.

Also worth noting, Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) delivered at every race. The 28-year-old was top ten almost every time: Eighth in the 7.5 +7.5-kilometer duathlon, seventh in the team sprint, fourth in the 10-kilometer individual start classic race, helped Finland to sixth place in the 4×5-kilometer relay, and finished 11th in the 30-kilometer mass start skate race on Saturday.

Heidi Weng (NOR) leading out on the first leg of the d4x5km relay at the 2019 FIS Nordic World Championships. Photo: Nordic Focus