While the World Cup season is starting to slow down there was no lack of enthusiasm in Norway where a crowd estimated near 100,000 was on hand to witness an enthralling 50km race which Andrew Musgrave threatened to steal in the closing stages.
Along with Delancey British Alpine Ski team member Alex Tilley, the pair were the only British skiers to finish their events this weekend after a quartet of moguls skiers were beaten by the weather in Switzerland.
FIS Cross Country World Cup – Saturday 10 March – Oslo NOR
Andrew Musgrave was a true contender in one of the races of the season on Saturday when he was seventh in the 50km free in front of a massive crowd in Oslo.
In a race which became more tactical the longer it went, Musgrave was one of only a few riders in the top 25 which opted for new skis going into the last eight kilometres. While the choice cost him almost 20 seconds to the front-runners, the choice proved a masterstroke as he easily gained back the time, and with six kilometres to go was part of an elite seven-strong group which would decide the race.
Inside the closing stages, Musgrave was on par and attempting to dictate terms to an elite group which had collectively won six Olympic gold medals, five World Championships, 87 World Cup races and six Tour de Ski titles. He tried to force the issue and earn an advantage however he couldn’t quite gap the field and was reeled in by the pack before the final surge took place.
With just 800m remaining, less than a second separated the group before the final contenders drew away. After more than two hours of racing it was Swiss ace Dario Cologna who won by the barest of margins from Norway’s Martin Sundby, the pair finishing with the same time but Cologna got the nod in a photo finish.
Musgrave finished seventh with his efforts again proving why he is considered one of the best free skate technicians in the world.
The 28-year-old went into the race relaxed about his expectations with his focus predominantly on next week’s World Cup Finals, with the result a testament to his current form.
“Oslo has never been a course that has suited me, and I’d done a lot of training in the days before the race thinking more about getting into prime form for [World Cup] finals in Falun next week, than trying to peak this weekend, so the result was surprisingly good,” said Musgrave. “I think that led me going into the race a lot more relaxed than I normally would. I didn’t put any pressure on myself.
“There were 100,000 Norwegians crowded around the track, going absolutely wild for the two hours of racing. A lot of them spend the weekend camping in the woods, getting there early to make sure they get the best spots to watch from – it was an incredible atmosphere and I just went out there and enjoyed it.”
FIS Alpine World Cup – Friday 9 – Ofterschwang GER
Alex Tilley again showed signs of her true potential when she finished 23rd in the World Cup giant slalom in Germany on Friday.
The PyeongChang Olympian took the final qualifying place after the first run, finishing 3.20 seconds off the lead in 30th place.
Seeded as first to go in the second run, Tilley’s time ultimately ranked seventh amongst all competitors – less than half a second off the fastest time – lifting her to 23rd overall.
It is Tilley’s seventh-best career result and her third-highest giant slalom finish this year.
FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup – Saturday 10 March – Airolo SUI
Four British skiers went to Switzerland with World Cup aspirations this weekend however the dual moguls event was cancelled due to fog.
The men’s competition started well for the British contingent with Thomas Gerken Schofield, Max Willis and Will Feneley each winning their first round match-ups, however the competition was called before the round of 32 could take place.
The British team will stay on in Airolo for Europa Cup events on Thursday and Friday.