Andrew Young secured British Nordic's first ever World Cup podium place in Toblach, Italy coming in 3rd in the Sprint final
Britain’s First Cross-Country Sprint World Cup Podium Result
Andrew Young took third in the freestyle sprint in Toblach, Italy, becoming the first Brit to podium in a world cup sprint event. Young’s teammates Andrew Musgrave and Annika Taylor also put in solid performances and are looking towards their more favoured event, the classic time trial.
The sprint event took in two laps of the Toblach stadium, which includes the iconic roof of the stadium building that creates the second climb on the course. Sprint races take the format of a time trial prologue with athletes being set off at 15 second intervals. The top 30 in the prologue then compete in head-to-head to heats. The winner and 1st runner-up from each of the 5 quarter-finals plus 2 “lucky-losers” i.e. the fastest runners-up across all of the heats, progress to the semi-finals. Similarly the top 2 from each of the semis, plus the lucky losers progress to the finals.
Young showed his form in the prologue coming 3rd, only 1.21 seconds behind fastest qualifier, Finn Haagen Krogh of Norway. A tactical choice of quarters for maximum recovery, Young went off in the 5th heat, where his power and strength were apparent in his relaxed racing style. The Brit’s skis were noticeably faster than his competitors giving Young the recovery on the second downhill to saunter across the finish line in 1st.
In the semis, Young followed the same race tactics, choosing the furthest right lane of the starting grid, tucking in behind the fast starts (Krogh and Fossil) and keeping to the inside line on both of the climbs. Fast skis for the Brit and the Norwegians saw the group of three breaking away at the bottom of the second decent on the first lap. Young took the lead at the top of the second climb and held onto it for a photo finish with Krogh on the line, which the Brit took, going into the finals seeded in 1st.
The men’s final saw Young up against Italy’s Frederico Pellegrino, Switzerland’s Jovian Hediger, Simeon Hamilton of the USA and Norway’s Fossil and Krogh. The final was a tactical race with a slower pace. At the top of the first hill Pellegrino responded to burst of pace by Krogh, but Young stuck with them on the long descent. Young took the inside line over the stadium roof and as in the semi went into 1st position for the start of second lap. Young, obviously tiring, was taken on the final climb by Pellegrino and Hamilton and fought to maintain his 3rd place to the line.
“My aim had been to reach the semi-final,” Andrew said of his race plan, “so it was good to make the final and amazing to be on the podium. My tactic was to attack on the hill over the stadium building, which I did every time and it seemed to be working. It’s a shame I tired on the final climb.”
There was plenty to celebrate afterwards, well done to the whole team for all the hard work getting British Nordics' first podium. The first of many we're sure.