ALUN, Sweden (Feb. 28, 2015) – Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) hung on for an 11th place result in the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 30k classic mass start, a race defined by Norway’s Therese Johaug who broke away with a sharp pace early and held on for an impressive win. Rosie Brennan (Park City, UT) and Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) finished 16th and 20th respectively.
The 30k classic field early on. The race was defined by an early break from Norway's Therese Johaug. The U.S. placed three women in the top 20. (Mike Hewitt / Getty Images)
Johaug attacked the first time up the Falun course's signature climb, the “Mordorbakken”, or murder hill. By the halfway point, she’d claimed a 50 second advantage and caused a ripple of smaller breaks behind her. Americans Rosie Brennan and Liz Stephen skied in a pack in between eighth and 12th place for the majority of the race.
Snow conditions played a key role in the racing yet again with slow, transformed snow pushing racers out of the tracks. All the racers in the top twenty, with the exception of the Finnish team exercised the ski exchange at the half way mark, as fresh wax for climbing and gliding was key in maintaining momentum today.